News - National Treasures

The National Gallery in London has announced the twelve partner venues taking part in National Treasures next year to mark the 200th birthday of the National Gallery...

Press Release

'National Treasures' is a key strand of the programme celebrating the Gallery’s Bicentenary. Each partner venue will receive a masterpiece from the Gallery’s collection and will curate around it, involving interpretation, community engagement and events, or exhibitions. For the duration of the displays, 35 million people - more than half the UK population - will be within an hour’s journey of a National Gallery masterpiece​.

The partners and the paintings they are receiving are:

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, The Wilton Diptych (about 1395‒9)
Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Self Portrait at the Age of 34 (1640), Rembrandt (1606‒1669)
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, The Hay Wain (1821), John Constable (1776‒1837)
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Venus and Mars (about 1485), Sandro Botticelli (about 1445-1510)
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria (about 1615‒17), Artemisia Gentileschi (1593‒1654 or later)
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, The Fighting Temeraire (1839), Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)
Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, The Umbrellas (about 1881‒6), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841‒1919)
The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, The Stonemason’s Yard (about 1725), Canaletto (1697‒1768)
Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, A Young Woman standing at a Virginal (about 1670‒2), Johannes Vermeer (1632‒1675)
Ulster Museum, Belfast, The Supper at Emmaus (1601), Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571‒1610)
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, The Rokeby Venus (1647‒51), Diego Velázquez (1599‒1660)
York Art Gallery, The Water-Lily Pond (1899), Claude Monet (1840‒1926)

Two works – The Wilton Diptych and Botticelli’s Venus and Mars – will be leaving the National Gallery’s collection for the first time since their acquisitions, in 1929 and 1874 respectively. The partner venues are currently developing plans to curate exhibitions, events, and digital interventions to showcase their works. Some are exploring the industries represented in the paintings and how they link to their own histories and communities; others are using the display opportunity to bring new audiences to their local cultural hubs. Starting from May 24th 2024, the paintings will be loaned for between two and four months, with the final displays concluding on 10th September 2024.

The opening of National Treasures around the UK kickstarts a year of Bicentenary celebrations, where three strands of activities showcase the Gallery across the nation; to the community in Trafalgar Square; and to virtual visitors around the world. The ambitious programme showcases the breadth of skill and creativity in the UK cultural sector and is just as much about looking ahead to the next 200 years in the Gallery’s future as it is about celebrating its past. Concluding the celebrations in May 2025 will be the opening of the new Sainsbury Wing developments in Trafalgar Square.

Christine Riding, Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department, said, ‘We thought carefully about where to send these most iconic and well-loved paintings in our collection. As well as being able to look after these works to an extremely high standard, we approached our partners for National Treasures because of their exciting ideas and brilliant reputations within their community. We are very excited to see the interpretation and audiences that our partners will bring to these most treasured paintings.’

Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, added, ‘In our Bicentenary year, we want to reaffirm our role as the nation’s gallery. Our collection belongs to the UK public and we’re very pleased to work with such an exciting range of partner venues to help realise this. These exhibitions provide a unique opportunity for people all over the country to see up close some of the greatest works from the history of Western art – and we hope that many visitors will discover their local museums and be inspired to visit us in Trafalgar Square to see even more of our collection.’

Arts and Heritage Minister, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, also commented, saying, ‘Everyone should have access to our country's great treasures, no matter where they live. I'm delighted that these masterpieces will be going on display in galleries across the nation so more people can enjoy and be inspired by the National Gallery's world-class collections.’

Prints of all the paintings going on tour as part of National Treasures are now available to buy from a dedicated section in the online shop. Visit

Image - National Gallery

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