Entertainment & Arts

National Gallery 'needs more space', director says

The National Gallery
Image caption Finaldi said the gallery's floor space had not changed "pretty much in a generation"

The National Gallery needs to expand its premises in Trafalgar Square to have more space for temporary exhibitions, its director has said.

Gabriele Finaldi told The Times he has ambitions to take over a nearby office block that currently houses a hotel, a cinema and an Indian restaurant.

The gallery currently leases St Vincent House, part of its precinct next to Trafalgar Square, to businesses.

A spokeswoman for the gallery said no official decision had been made.

Finaldi said the floor space of the gallery "hasn't actually changed pretty much in a generation and we are now having 50% more visitors, and potentially that is going to grow in the future".

"We have to think what we do with the building [St Vincent House] that completes the block."

"A number of our staff work there but that's potential for physical growth of the National Gallery, that's something we're beginning to look at now."

The suggestion comes 25 years after the gallery opened the Sainsbury Wing, though any expansion would be delayed by the current occupants, whose leases are not due to expire until 2021 at the earliest.

Some tenants have leases that are not scheduled to expire until 2029, according to the Land Registry.

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