The National Portrait Gallery in London is to close virtually all of its permanent collection for most of Monday (17 September) for a commercial event. Thirty rooms on the first and second floors will be shut until 3pm, and then reopen for three hours until 6pm. The ground floor, currently used for temporary exhibitions (the BP Portrait Award 2018 and Michael Jackson: On the Wall), will remain open as normal from 10am until 6pm.
A gallery spokeswoman says that Monday’s partial closure is to let out the premises as a venue for London Fashion Week . Although she is unwilling to specify the company holding its catwalk presentation, it may well be Erdem, which paid to hold a similar event on 19 February. On that occasion the entire gallery was shut for the day.
The spokeswoman says that the gallery has “listened and taken on board the feedback we received, both positive and negative, when we closed for a private event in February”. She adds: “The gallery is a charity and has to self-generate over 70% of the funds needed to keep open and accessible to all. In line with other museums, a key income stream is hiring out spaces to a wide range of companies and organisations. Careful consideration is given to any gallery closure, but sometimes due to the nature and complexity of the event some level of closure is necessary.”