Opening of the Lord Duveen Annexe to the National Portrait Gallery

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Opening of the Lord Duveen Annexe to the National Portrait Gallery

by Sir John Lavery
oil on board, 1933
20 in. x 24 in. (508 mm x 610 mm)
Bequeathed by Dorothy Rose Burns, 1987
Primary Collection
NPG 5943

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  • Sir John Lavery (1856-1941), Painter. Artist or producer associated with 18 portraits, Sitter in 19 portraits.

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The Duveen wing of the National Portrait Gallery was opened by King George V and Queen Mary on 30th March 1933. The project was financed by the art dealer and benefactor Sir Joseph Duveen (1869-1939), who wished to relieve what he saw as the 'inartistic crowding' in the existing galleries. This sketch was presented to Lord Duveen by the artist Sir John Lavery as a commemorative gift, and shows the ceremony held in the Wolfson Gallery on the ground floor. The wing, designed by architects Sir Richard Allison and J.G. West, is characterised by the use of polished black Irish marble, and provided three further floors and a basement.

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Current affairs

Sir Norman Angell is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Angell was recognised for his book, Europe's Optical Illusion (or The Great Illusion) first published in 1910 and updated in 1933, which argued that war between modern powers was futile as neither the looser or victor would gain economically from it.

Art and science

British Art embraces abstraction with the establishment of 'Unit 1', the first group of British Artists dedicated to producing abstract art. The critic Herbert Read formed the group by bringing together the artists Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Paul Nash and the architect, Wells Coates.
The Duveen Wing extension at the National Portrait Gallery is opened by King George V.


The Nazi party comes to power in Germany as part of a coalition government with Hitler as Chancellor. Over the next year, the party consolidated its position through the Enabling Act (allowing them to pass legislation without the support of the coalition), by banning and purging opposition, and by making Hitler Führer in 1934: granting him the combined powers of Chancellor and President.

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