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Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act gives people a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities and imposes obligations on public authorities to disclose information, subject to a range of exemptions.

Anyone can make a request for information, although the request must be in writing (letter or e-mail).

The Act gives applicants two related rights:

  • The right to be told whether the information exists
  • The right to receive the information within 20 working days, where possible in the manner requested

In some cases where information is exempt from disclosure, the Gallery is required to consider if the public interest in maintaining the exemption in question outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

How to make a request

Requests for information should be made to the Information Department and should provide as much detail as possible to enable Gallery staff to identify the information sought. If you have difficulty in identifying the precise information you require Gallery staff will be pleased to help.

Information about the National Gallery and its collections might already be available on this website and in publications. Please check the About Us section.

Archival material is available by appointment with the Libraries and Archive Department.

Publication Scheme

The National Gallery has adopted the model publication scheme issued by the Information Commissioner.

Read about the publication scheme on the Information Commissioner's website [External website]

The publication scheme should be read in conjunction with the model definition document for museums, libraries, and archives (including art galleries and historical collections).

Read the definition document on the Information Commissioner's website [External website]


The National Gallery will normally respond to requests for information free of charge. However, the Gallery may charge a fee for the cost of printing, postage etc. Charges are payable in advance.

Complaints and appeal procedure

If you are dissatisfied with the response you have had from the Gallery in respect of a request for information you may seek an internal review of the decision you have received. Requests for internal review should be submitted in writing to the Director of Collections.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome or the handling of the internal review conducted by the Gallery you may apply to the Information Commissioner who is responsible for regulating access to information under the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts.

Further information

Further information about the Act can be obtained from the Information Commissioner at:

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Information Line: 01625 545745