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National Gallery

Volume 113: debated on Wednesday 25 March 1987

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asked the Minister for the Arts what progress is being made on the planned extension to the National Gallery; and if he will make a statement.

The trustees of the National Gallery announced in April 1985 that, thanks to the generosity of the Sainsbury family, a new extension would be built on the Hampton site to the west of the main gallery building. Last year the trustees chose Mr. Robert Venturi to design the new extension. I understand that his designs will be put on public display at the National Gallery from Wednesday 15 April.We have been in discussion with the trustees and donors about the future use and maintenance of the new extension. I have placed in the Library copies of my letter of 16 March to Sir John Sainsbury which records our joint understanding on this.The new extension is a very significant development for our national museums and galleries and demonstrates what can be achieved in partnership between enlightened benefactors and a national institution. The Government are deeply indebted to the Sainsbury brothers for their magnificent generosity and commitment to the arts. I am particularly delighted therefore that the new extension is to bear their family name.