The National Portrait Gallery yesterday welcomed its two millionth visitors – a milestone which sets up the highest annual figures in the Gallery's history when they are published at the end of the month.
The group of visitors through the door when the figure of two million was reached was given a surprise welcome by the Gallery's director Mr Sandy Nairne. The Cara family from Northampton – Melanie, 45, Dave , 44, both doctors, and Josh, 14 – were presented with a year's Membership to the Gallery, a £100 voucher for the Portrait Restaurant and copies of the Gallery Guide and Highlights book.
Dave Cara said:
This is wonderful. I'm a regular visitor to the National Portrait Gallery and most of my knowledge of the history of British monarchs was learnt from my visits here over the years.'
The Caras were the two millionth visitors recorded since the 2011-12 financial year started last April. Last year's figure was 1,819,442 while the Gallery's previous highest ever figure in 2009-10 was 1,961,843 visits.
100,000 people have already visited the hugely popular Lucian Freud Portraits, and last year's BP Portrait Award 2011 exhibition – free entry made possible by BP's sponsorship – received the largest number of visitors for any National Portrait Gallery exhibition (341,050).
Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says:
The growing popularity of the National Portrait Gallery is made possible by having creative and hard-working staff, dedicated volunteers and great trustees, supported through an enterprising combination of public and private sector funding.'
Reflection (Self-portrait), 1985, Private Collection, Ireland © The Lucian Freud Archive. Photo: Courtesy Lucian Freud Archive
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.