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It’s Coming Home: London’s National Portrait Gallery Sends 50 Artworks Back To The Places That Inspired Them

The new initiative will loan celebrated National Portrait Gallery artworks to towns across the UK that they are most closely associated with

Courtesy: National Portrait Gallery, London

Courtesy: National Portrait Gallery, London

Courtesy: National Portrait Gallery, London

London’s National Portrait Gallery has announced a major new project, ‘Coming Home’, which will see 50 portraits loaned to the towns and cities across the UK that the works are most closely associated with. The initiative will commence in 2019 and will include iconic works from the NPG collection.

Six of the portraits have been announced so far, while the remaining 44 are yet to be decided on. ‘Coming Home’ will include new and old works alike: a famous 16th-century portrait of Richard III will travel to New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, near to where the remains of the beleaguered king were discovered in 2012. A more recent work included in the programme is Tracey’s Emin’s Bronze Death Mask (2002), which will be sent to Margate Library, Kent. Margate is Emin’s birthplace and has recently become the location of her studio.

Other loans include: Sir Thomas Lawrence’s unfinished portrait William Wilberforce (1828) which will find a new home in the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull – the birthplace of the famous British politician and abolitionist; David Hockney’s Self-Portrait with Charlie (2005) will travel to the Cartwright Hall Gallery, Bradford – the artist’s hometown; and Jessica Ennis-Hill (2012), a photographic print of the Sheffield-born athlete by Kate Peters, will go to Museums Sheffield.

Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, commented: ‘I am delighted to launch such a unique, inclusive and ambitious national initiative. We are extremely grateful to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Spot, the Thompson Family Charitable Trust and all those who contributed to Gallery’s 2017 Portrait Gala for making it possible. We hope that sending portraits ‘home’ in this way will foster a sense of pride and create a personal connection for local communities to a bigger national history; thus helping us to fulfil our aim of being truly a national gallery for everyone, in our role as the nation’s family album.’

In his first ministerial visit as Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright visited the National Portrait gallery to launch ‘Coming Home’. He said: ‘Every corner of the UK has well known faces who have played a significant role in our nation’s history. I am delighted that 50 of these famous figures will be returning home so that current generation can be inspired by their stories. We are determined to ensure that more of the UK can see some of our world-class collections, and with thanks to the National Portrait Gallery, Coming Home is an exciting first step in the right direction.’

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