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Each year a masterpiece from the National Gallery collection is shown at three partner venues across the UK. In 2021 the masterpiece will be Jean-Siméon Chardin, The House of Cards, about 1740–1 and we are now inviting applications from non-London UK venues to display this work.


The touring masterpiece, 2021

A young boy stands at a small wooden table fully absorbed in building a house out of playing cards. He is Jean-Alexandre Le Noir, whose father, Jean-Jacques Le Noir, was a furniture dealer and cabinet-maker, who commissioned several paintings from Chardin.

The theme of a child building a house of cards was a familiar one in which the delicately balanced cards represent the fragile nature of human endeavour. Pictures of this subject were often accompanied by moralising verses, as was Chardin’s painting when it was engraved. 

How to apply

If you are interested in showing Chardin's painting in 2021, please take a look at our booklet where you'll find instructions on how to submit an application.

In addition, for the Masterpiece Tour 2022 and 2023, we are excited to work with our partners to develop a new model when, for the first time, the choice of the painting will be made together by the partners and the National Gallery.

Applications must be received by Wednesday 4 March 2020. All applications should be sent digitally.

Application is open to all non-London UK museums and galleries who meet the required standards of loan, security, and environmental control can commit to one display per year 2021-23 featuring the masterpiece. We are particularly interested in receiving applications from venues who have not worked with us previously and who are located in areas of cultural and/or economic disadvantage.

The National Gallery Masterpiece Tour


Further details and advice on your application

Read more