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To celebrate 200 years since our foundation in 1824, we are planning a programme of inspirational exhibitions and outreach around the country and around the world, under the banner NG200. This will also include the completion of an initial phase of works to our Trafalgar Square buildings in order to improve the ‘welcome’ we provide to our millions of visitors we receive each year.

A new welcome for a new chapter in our history

The brief for the project includes sensitive interventions to the Grade I listed Sainsbury Wing to reconfigure the ground floor entrance and upgrade the visitor amenities, creating new spaces that will provide a welcome experience befitting a world-class institution and that meets the expectations of visitors now and in the future.

Alongside this will also be a new Supporters’ House with dedicated spaces for Supporters and Members to meet, relax and get closer to the collection. We will also transform our Learning Centre, allowing us to be far more ambitious with our educational offer and become the nation’s art classroom.

A new Research Centre, likely housed in the historic Wilkins Building, will support our vision of becoming a world leader in research into historic painting, and communicate our work as a global thought leader by creating a powerful resource for studies into art history, digital humanities, conservation, and heritage science.

The architect-led design team 

A team led by Selldorf Architects has been selected to work on a suite of capital projects to mark our bicentenary, with an initial phase to be completed in 2024. Selldorf Architects’ team also includes Purcell, Vogt Landscape, Arup, AEA Consulting, Pentagram, Kaizen and Kendrick Hobbs.

The selection process was run under the Competitive Procedure with Negotiation, in accordance with UK procurement regulations, by Malcolm Reading Consultant.

Where are we now? 

Summer 2023

Archaeologists from Archaeology South-East (UCL) have finished the first phase of excavations at the National Gallery. They’re now busy analysing all the finds and data from site to help them interpret the archaeological story.

See some of their behind-the-scenes photos from the excavation:

The archaeological history

The National Gallery sits in the hinterland of the former Roman settlement of Londinium, established around 2km to the east in the mid-1st century AD. This spot was likely a managed agricultural landscape for growing crops – however, nearby excavations have also revealed military and religious activity. This could be a chance for archaeologists to better understand how people used this area in Roman times.

The walled city of Londinium was abandoned in the 5th century AD. With the coming of the Saxons, the settlement shifted west along the modern area of the Strand. By the 7th century it was known as Lundenwic and was primarily a trading centre with a waterfront. The National Gallery lies to the western end of this settlement and excavations close by have found material of this date, so there is a chance we could recover some as well!

The history of the National Galley and this part of Westminster is amazingly complex, from King Richard II’s Royal Mews for hunting hawks to stables and even a possible row of houses. We might be surprised and find something unusual or completely unexpected – that’s part of the intrigue of archaeology! Hopefully these excavations will allow us to shine more light on this fascinating part of London.


Join us from 10 May 2024 as we celebrate our Bicentenary - 200 years of bringing people and paintings together