Tonight, the Duchess of Cambridge is attending the 2019 Portrait Gala, held at the National Portrait Gallery in London. During the gala night, Catherine will meet members of the Gallery’s Youth Forum and view artwork produced by some of the National Portrait Gallery’s outreach programmes.
Duchess became the patron of National Portrait Gallery in January 2012. Her first official portrait is on display in Room 39 painted by the Glasgow-born artist Paul Emsley.
The Gallery Director Dr Nicholas Cullinan received Duchess on arrival.
This is the third Gala that The Duchess has attended and, as in previous years, the funds raised will directly support the National Portrait Gallery’s work. This year, the Portrait Gala will support Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery, a project for the complete renewal of the Gallery that will see a significant refurbishment of the building.
In addition to the work at St Martin’s Place, Inspiring People will also see the Gallery’s most extensive programme of activities nationwide with plans to engage audiences’ onsite, locally, regionally and online. The activity includes a UK-wide schools programme for teaching history and art, national skills-sharing collaboration with other museums and galleries and new partnerships with organisations throughout the country. As part of this programme the Gallery will work with museums in Cornwall, Coventry, Sheffield and Southampton on the Creative Connections project; a co-curated exhibition programme for young people, which will result in students creating new artworks alongside artists and a display of portraits from the Gallery’s Collection at each venue.
During the evening the Duchess met with members of our Youth Forum and Learning Team to hear more about the Gallery’s Creative Connections initiative, and Inspiring People re-development project.
Inspiring People is a major transformation which will see the National Portrait Gallery’s biggest ever development since our historic building opened in 1896. Through this project we will deepen the understanding and enjoyment of our remarkable Collection, sharing it with the widest and most diverse audience possible.
The proposed new entrance and forecourt on the North Façade of the Gallery will create a more welcoming and generous entrance and relieve the existing congested visitor access. Three windows will be altered to form doorways leading to a new, open entrance hall, which will link with the Ondaatje Wing Main Hall and better connect the building. The proposed forecourt is designed to be a high-quality civic space for both the public and Gallery visitors. Drawing on the history of the building, the forecourt floor design features a contemporary interpretation of the ‘fan pattern’ which runs through the Gallery’s original mosaic floors, creating continuity between the old and the new.
The project provides a unique opportunity to re-display the entire Collection as well as upgrade the gallery spaces while celebrating the existing architecture and decorative features. Maintaining a chronological approach, this comprehensive top-to-bottom re-hang will display works that are relevant to a wider range of audiences and present missing or hidden stories from British history. Set amongst the Gallery’s best-loved paintings will be more works from NPG’s collection of 250,000 photographs, ranging from 1840 to the present day.
The East Wing of the Gallery, part of the original 1896 building, will be reopened to the public. This includes converting what is currently office space back into stunning top-lit galleries on the first floor. The ground floor and basement levels will be refurbished, providing a flexible gallery and social space with its own dedicated entrance and the extension of our brick-vaulted Portrait Café.
Dr Nicholas Cullinan introduced Catherine to the team members and guests.
The guest list had quite big names like Victoria and David Beckham, Princess Beatrice, Kate Moss, Bianca Jagger, Jourdan Dunn and British Vogue editor Edward Enninful.
Duchess was thoroughly enjoying the night as she has a keen interest in Arts and studied it at St. Andrews University.
Coming to sartorial details, first a look back at Duchess’ previous appearances at the NPG Gala. Duchess attended the gala first time in 2014 wearing Jenny Packham Ink Blue Silk Tulle Gown then in 2017 wearing Temperley London Green Maxi Dress.
Tonight, Duchess wore a black Alexander McQueen gown that she first wore in 2017 at BAFTA night.
This time it looks like that Gown has undergone a huge alteration. The original version of the gown has an off-shoulder bodice. The new version has cap sleeves added to it.
I believe the whole bodice of the gown has been changed. You can see the difference in the bodice on the picture. The old bodice has different flower printing placements than the new one. Some royal watchers on twitter also brought up the theory of a completely new gown in the same fabric. But I believe its the old gown with the new bodice.
Catherine paired the gown with one of her older shoes. She was wearing Jimmy Choo Cosmic Pumps.
Catherine was carrying her Prada Black Satin Clutch with Stone Embellishment.
Next, we will see the Duchess on Sunday at St. Patrick’s Day Parade.