Press Release

A new Tate Britain to be unveiled this autumn

Press Release announcing a new Tate Britain to be unveiled this autumn

A new Tate Britain will be unveiled on 19 November 2013. The transformation of the oldest part of the Grade II* Millbank building by leading architects Caruso St John marks a significant moment for Tate Britain. The unveiling this autumn follows the opening in May 2013 of ten new galleries and the chronological presentation of the unparalleled collection of British art.  The £45 million project includes:

  • the reopening of the main entrance to Tate Britain on Millbank, combining new architectural features with the excavation of the most beautiful original architectural elements of the building. The changes will restore the historical logic of the building and include a striking new spiral staircase inside the entrance opening up access to new public spaces below;
  • the reopening of The Whistler Restaurant, with its famous Rex Whistler mural, The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats 1926-7, fully restored; and the new Djanogly Café, opposite the restaurant, which will open onto an exterior terrace. Both will serve food made with seasonal British ingredients;
  • contemporary interpretations of tables and seating inspired by leading British Arts and Crafts designers active in the founding year of Tate Britain – 1897;
  • new learning studios located throughout the gallery including a dedicated schools’ entrance and reception underneath the Millbank Entrance steps; and a new archive gallery, which will present temporary displays from Tate’s extensive archive of artists’ letters and ephemera. The first display by Paul Noble will be inspired by the history of the Tate Britain site as a penitentiary;
  • the circular balcony of the Rotunda’s domed atrium, closed to visitors since the 1920s, which will become the elegant new café and bar for Tate Members; and a light-filled space overlooking the Thames, the original Grand Saloon, created for seminars and events; and
  • site-specific work to celebrate the transformation of Tate Britain by three contemporary artists: Richard Wright will design handmade glass and leading for the eastern window in the Millbank foyer; Alan Johnston will create a ceiling drawing for the Djanogly café and Nicole Wermers will create a tea and coffee spoon for use in the café and for sale in the shop. 

Director of Tate Britain, Penelope Curtis, said, “The new Tate Britain opens up the Millbank entrance to reassert and enhance the original grandeur and logic of the galleries. Adam Caruso and Peter St John have created new spaces out of old and artists have helped to articulate a new sense of the public realm.”

The new Tate Britain opens on the 19 November, with celebratory events throughout the day and evening on 23 November. Press view 18 November 2013.

The Project Architects are Caruso St John; Structural Engineers: Alan Baxter & Associates LLP; Service Engineers: Max Fordham LLP; Cost Consultants: Turner & Townsend; Project Managers: Deloitte; and Construction Managers: Lend Lease.

The new Tate Britain is being made possible with the support of:
The Manton Foundation; Heritage Lottery Fund; The Gatsby Charitable Foundation; Ronald and Rita McAulay; The Linbury Trust and  The Monument Trust; Garfield Weston Foundation; Clore Duffield Foundation; The Taylor Family Foundation; The Porter Foundation; Sir Harry and Lady Djanogly; The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation; The Wolfson Foundation; Tate Members and other individual donors.

Galleries opened in May 2013
Ten galleries in the southern and oldest part of Tate Britain were reconstructed to 21st-century standards with completely new walls, roofs and floors and opened in May 2013. Gallery floors were reinforced to hold larger sculptural works and temperature and humidity controls have been improved. New galleries have also been created in and around the space formerly housing the shop that has been relocated to the south-west quadrant of the building.

BP Displays
May 2013 marked the launch at Tate Britain of new permanent galleries devoted to two of the greatest figures in British art: William Blake and Henry Moore. Each of these artists, along with JMW Turner, has a special historic relationship with Tate Britain. Alongside the chronological circuit around the outer perimeter of the galleries, a new series of seasonal BP Spotlight collection displays offer more depth on particular artworks, artists or themes.

BP Walk through British Art
As part of the BP Displays, the national collection of British art was rehung in a continuous chronological display - a walk through time from the 1500s to the present day. BP Walk through British Art comprises around 500 artworks over a newly configured sequence of over 20 galleries. Often separated when hung by movement or genre, the chronological presentation of the display allows a more neutral view of the range of art being produced at any one historical moment to emerge.

BP’s support for UK Arts & Culture In the UK
BP is a major supporter of the arts with a programme that spans over 35 years. In 2011 BP announced its investment of almost £10 million in extending its long term partnerships with the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House, and Tate Britain over the next five years. Taken together, these agreements represent one of the most significant long-term corporate investments in UK arts and culture.