Building work on the project, Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery, is scheduled to start in 2020. The Gallery has already embarked on its fundraising and has now secured £21.2m, 60 per cent of its £35.5m fundraising target.

With the Heritage Lottery Fund’s support of £9.4m, which includes an initial development grant of £900,000, the Gallery aims to reach its target of £35.5m by March 2019 in order to complete the project by 2022.

For the first time in the Gallery’s history there will be a comprehensive re-display of its collection across all the galleries accompanied by the Gallery’s most extensive programme of activities nationwide.

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Inside the National Portrait Gallery. The Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery will see a comprehensive re-display of the Collection across all the galleries. Photograph by Herry Lawford. Wikipedia Commons

The project includes creating around 20 per cent more public and gallery spaces, all of which will be refurbished and rehung for the first time, enhancing its entrance and creating a new learning centre.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, said: ‘We are delighted to have chosen Jamie Fobert Architects to work with us on transforming the National Portrait Gallery. We were impressed by Jamie’s evident love of the Gallery, its Collection and building, and the clear vision he had for how to make the most of these for our visitors, as well as his affinity with art and artists.”

Jamie Fobert Architects’ recently completed the extension to Tate St Ives in Cornwall and is currently working on a new extension and reconfiguration of Kettle’s Yard House and Gallery in Cambridge and Jamie Fobert himself said the National Portrait Gallery project would ‘unify the collection and enhance the Gallery’s presence in the city’.

When opened at the end of the 19th century the National Portrait Gallery stated its aim was to ‘to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, and … to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media’. The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world and currently displays 1,000 portraits across three floors.

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