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National Gallery announces 12 partner venues across the UK receiving a ‘National Treasure’ loan for Bicentenary celebration


The National Gallery announces the partner venues taking part in National Treasures, 12 displays of loaned paintings all opening on 10 May 2024, the 200th birthday of the National Gallery.

’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:

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. The paintings will be loaned for between two and four months, with the final displays concluding on 10 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, says, ‘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, says, ‘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, says, ‘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.’


From 6 February 2023, prints of all the paintings going on tour as part of National Treasures are available to buy from a dedicated section in our online shop. Visit

The National Gallery is one of the greatest art galleries in the world. Founded by Parliament in 1824, the Gallery houses the nation’s collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the late 13th to the early 20th century. The collection includes works by Bellini, Cézanne, Degas, Leonardo, Monet, Raphael, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rubens, Titian, Turner, Van Dyck, Van Gogh and Velázquez. The Gallery’s key objectives are to enhance the collection, care for the collection and provide the best possible access to visitors. Admission free. More at


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