Press Release

The new Tate Britain is unveiled

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

18 November 2013

The new Tate Britain is unveiled

The new Tate Britain is unveiled to the public 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 follows the opening in May 2013 of ten new galleries and new BP Displays, including the chronological presentation of Tate’s unparalleled collection of British art.

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.

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 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 opens onto an exterior terrace. Both 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, presenting temporary displays from Tate’s extensive archive of artists’ letters and ephemera. The first display by Paul Noble is inspired by the history of the Tate Britain site as a swamp and then a penitentiary;
  • the opening of the circular balcony of the Rotunda’s domed atrium, closed to visitors since the 1920s, as an elegant new café and bar for Tate Members; and the Grand Saloon, a light-filled space overlooking the Thames created for seminars and events; and
  • site-specific work to celebrate the transformation of Tate Britain by three contemporary artists: Richard Wright has designed handmade glass and leading for the eastern window in the Millbank foyer; Alan Johnston has created a ceiling drawing for the Djanogly Café; and Nicole Wermers has created a tea and coffee spoon for use in the Djanogly Café, Members Room and the Whistler Restaurant.

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 Tuesday 19 November 2013. The Tate Britain House Warming Party, a free day and evening of celebratory events, DJs, performances and sound installations, will take place on Saturday 23 November.

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

Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded Tate £3m for the capital building project and £1.9m for an archive digital access project that will make Tate’s archive accessible within the new spaces – in the new archive gallery, digital corridor and digital learning studio, all on the lower level. The archive digital access project will also fully integrate Tate’s rich archival collections with the online Collection of British art. The award also supports a series of learning and outreach programmes across the country.

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

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, opened in May 2013, presents around 500 artworks over a newly configured sequence of over 20 galleries. Alongside the chronological circuit around the outer perimeter of the galleries, a new series of seasonal BP Spotlight collection displays were opened to offer more depth on particular artworks, artists or themes. May 2013 also 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.

BP’s support for arts and 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.