by Kirstyn Smith
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is due to close this Sunday after receiving a £4.5 million grant to go towards a long-awaited restoration.
The financial aid, awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), will help the gallery’s planned revamp which will cost, in total, approximately £17.6 million and follows a donation of £5.1 million from the Scottish Government.
The renovation, which is estimated to last up to two and a half years, plans to double gallery space in an effort to increase visitor numbers. A dedicated education suite, auditorium, IT gallery and research centre will also be added.
James Holloway, the gallery’s director, said: “We are delighted with the support from the HLF. Their confidence in the scheme is a terrific boost at this critical stage of the project.”
The program, called Portrait of the Nation, will increase the number of items displayed by 350%, allowing the gallery to display many more of its 30,000 portraits and photographs.
Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “New life will now be breathed into this beautiful historic building. Treasures that have been stored away for years will be brought out to showcase Scotland’s history through the portraits of those who shaped it.”
This weekend the gallery will host the Farewell Festival, two days of events for families and children as a way of marking the closure.