Loan conditions

The following standard conditions apply to all loans made from the National Portrait Gallery Collections.

(a) Insurance

The borrower is responsible for the insurance or indemnification of all loaned items at a value specified by the National Portrait Gallery on a full "All Risks and Nail to Nail" basis.

This cover may be arranged either;-

(i) By the National Portrait Gallery with the cost of the premium being borne in full by the borrower.

(ii) Where applicable through the United Kingdom Government Indemnity Scheme (UKGIS) in which case the borrower will be responsible for arranging cover on a full "All Risks and Nail to Nail" basis only for a minimum liability currently calculated as:-

  • £300 where a loan item is valued at less than £4000
  • £300 Plus 1% of the total value where a loan item is valued at more than £4000
  • Up to a limit of a total of £5000 per annum for all claims in the case of Designated Museums under the MLA’s designation initiative

(iii) Where applicable through the foreign state indemnity programmes subject to the agreement of the National Portrait Gallery

In the case of loans to other UK Exchequer-funded organisation the National Portrait Gallery will bear the risk.

In the case of commercial insurance the borrower will be given as an additional Named Assured on the Certificate of Insurance.

Under certain circumstances the National Portrait Gallery may agree to cover via the borrower’s own insurance company. In this case the borrower must contact the National Portrait Gallery as soon as possible, sending a copy of the full policy.

Loan items will not be released from the National Portrait Gallery until the insurance has been approved and if applicable a Certificate of Insurance received.

In the event of any unusual condition or damage to any portrait in transit or while on exhibition, the Loans Manager shall be informed at once by telephone and subsequently in writing. No repairs shall be undertaken in any circumstances until the loaned item has been examined by an officer of the National Portrait Gallery or its nominee, and the repairs shall be undertaken by conservators approved by the Loans Manager. The cost of examination and repairs shall be borne by the borrower.

(b) Combating Illicit Trade in Cultural Property

In accordance with current UK Department for Culture Media & Sport guidelines the National Portrait Gallery requires the borrower by this agreement to confirm that no items in their exhibitions or displays are known or suspected to have been stolen, illegally imported or exported, or illegally excavated as defined in the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

(c) Safety, Security, Transport and Customs

If required the borrower shall permit the National Security Adviser of the UK Museums Libraries and Archives Council to report on the security arrangements at the exhibition premises. Such approval may be necessary if a loan is to proceed.

Transport will normally be arranged by the borrower with an agent or shipper approved by the National Portrait Gallery. Borrowers should arrange collection as late as possible before the loan is required, and to return all items immediately after a loan is terminated.

All vehicles used for the transport of works must be fitted with: -

  • Air-ride suspension systems
  • Tail lifts
  • Enclosed, lockable and alarmed cargo areas separate from driver accommodation
  • Means of both monitoring and controlling the temperature and humidity within the cargo area at a level specified by the National Portrait Gallery
  • Suitable tying-off points for securing works

A minimum of two people must travel on any road journey to ensure that the vehicle is not left unattended at any time. Adequate security arrangements should be agreed with the National Portrait Gallery particularly if overnight stops are necessary.

The National Portrait Gallery reserves the option of having a member of its staff accompany loaned items to oversee handling at all stages, including packing, installation and de-installation, and condition reporting immediately after delivery and before return.

In this event the Borrower will be required to bear the full cost of this arrangement including travel, accommodation and subsistence costs.

For international loans the borrower will provide business class tickets for couriers travelling with loan items, or in both directions when flights longer than 8 hours are necessary.

The borrower is responsible for all customs formalities. Customs inspections should be made at the exhibition premises or at the National Portrait Gallery rather than during transit.

(d) Installation & Display

All framed items will normally be loaned glazed.

Methods of fitting or securing loaned items must be approved in advance by the National Portrait Gallery. Framed drawings, small oils, prints and photographs must be secured in place with four mirror-plates and security screws.

Larger works must be supported on their bottom edges by metal brackets, and secured to the gallery wall with mirror-plates.

Fixings will normally be supplied by the National Portrait Gallery, and should be returned at the close of the exhibition.

Small objects such as miniatures or medals must be displayed within locked cases.

(e) Environment

Loaned items shall not be exposed to fluctuations in temperature or humidity. They must not be placed near radiators or any other heating or air-conditioning device. The following ranges will be considered acceptable:

Relative Humidity


50% +/- 5%

20°C +/- 2°C

Visible Light Levels

UV Light level

Organic materials

Oil Paintings

All loans

50 Lux Maximum

200 Lux maximum

75 mWatts per Lumen

Loaned items must not be exposed to direct sunlight or unfiltered fluorescent light.

(f) Photography

All enquiries relating to the hire and use of images of these loans should be directed to the NPG Rights and Images Department (telephone 0207 312 2473/4/5, fax 0207 312 2464 or email [email protected]).

(g) Charges and costs

The National Portrait Gallery does not charge for loans made to UK borrowing institutions. Under certain circumstances however the costs of preparation or conservation of loans may be passed on to Borrowers either fully or in part.

A charge will be made to institutions outside the UK at a rate of: -

£1200 per venue for loans of 1-5 items

£1800 per venue for loans of 6 or more items.

No expense in connection with the loan shall be borne by the National Portrait Gallery.

In the event of the late cancellation of a loan by a prospective borrower, the Gallery will pass on those costs already incurred in relation to the preparation of the loan to the prospective borrower

(h) General

A copy of an catalogue (hardback if available), hand list, or any publication produced in connection with the exhibition, shall be sent, free of charge to the Loans Registrar.

Loans shall be acknowledged thus: Lent by the National Portrait Gallery, London together with any additional specified credit information on labels and in any exhibition publication

The Trustees reserve the right to recall at any time any loan, and disclaim any liability arising from such action.

The National Portrait Gallery reserves the right to waive or add to the above conditions with reasonable notice to the borrower.

Queries relating to these Conditions of Loan should be addressed to:-

The Loans Registrar
National Portrait Gallery

St Martin’s Place


t. +44 207 312 2432
f. +44 207 306 0056
e. [email protected]

Further information
Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property