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Tate Gallery Tate Gallery
by The Ovi Team
2021-07-21 09:13:47
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July 21st 1897; Tate Gallery opens in England. Having offered his art collection to the nation, Henry Tate later offered a gallery to house it providing the government would donate a site and undertake the administration. After much debate, Tate's offer is accepted. The site of Millbank Penitentiary, a huge prison facing the Thames at Millbank is chosen. The prison is demolished and three acres of the site allocated to the new gallery. The first stage of the building programme, consisting of the front façade, an entrance hall under a rotunda and seven galleries, is designed by Sidney R J Smith. It is completed and opened in 1897. Plans for the second stage, also provided by Sir Henry Tate (he was knighted in 1898), are displayed at the gallery's opening. In 1899 nine galleries - the second stage - are added to the original building. Further additions to the site are made in 1909, designed by W H Romaine Walker. The 1909 extension, developed to house the Turner Collection, is paid for by the connoisseur Joseph Duveen.

In 1917, Tate is given a new responsibility - to form the national collection of international modern art. New galleries for the modern international collection are built by Sir Joseph Duveen's son, later Lord Duveen, and opened in 1926. The artist Rex Whistler (1905-45) is commissioned to produce a series of murals for the restaurant. These are completed and unveiled in 1927. In 1937 Lord Duveen builds the great central sculpture galleries, designed by J Russell Pope and Romaine Walker. This development introduces the domed octagon, intended to emphasise the centre of the building and open up a central vista that continues the axial route provided by the entrance. By this time in the development of the Millbank site, three quadrants of the building had been designed. The rectangular site has been three quarters filled, each quarter built around a courtyard unseen from within the galleries. A new north-east extension, by Llewellyn Davies, Weeks, Forestier-Walker and Bor is added in 1979. This fills in the final quarter of the original rectangular site and is designed not around a courtyard but to a solid plan.

Tate now expands onto the site of the adjacent disused Queen Alexandra Hospital. In 1987 the Turner Collection is re-housed in the purpose-built Clore Gallery, given by the Clore Foundation and designed by the distinguished British architect Sir James Stirling. In December 1992, the Tate Trustees announce their intention to divide displays of the Collection in London between two sites: a gallery for international modern and contemporary art, later named Tate Modern, and a gallery to be devoted to British art from 1500 to the present day, occupying the whole of Tate's building at Millbank, later named Tate Britain.

In 1994, a refurbishment of the Clore Gallery is financed by the Clore Foundation. In 1997, Tate announces that it is now to take forward plans to upgrade and develop the Millbank building. This major scheme will be called the Centenary Development. John Miller + Partners are announced as scheme architects, with external improvements and landscaping by Allies and Morrison. In 1998, building work begins on the Centenary Development. On 24 March 2000 Tate Britain opens to the public and remains fully operational as parts of the building are closed off for works during the Centenary Development. On 1 November 2001, the Centenary Development opened to the public. Tate Britain's spaces and facilities have been expanded and upgraded to allow the public to enjoy the Millbank building as never before.

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