National Portrait Gallery

London, UK.

The National Portrait Gallery, renowned for its exceptional collection of artworks celebrating the history of the artistic tradition of portraiture, faced the challenge of securely storing its treasured pieces during a major refurbishment project between 2020 and June 2023. As part of the ‘Inspiring People’ initiative, several works from the collection were on loan, placing the responsibility of handling and preserving the remaining artworks on our shoulders as a trusted fine art logistics company with a longstanding relationship with the gallery.


The NPG came to us as a reliable partner and an Approved Fine Art Agent under the NPG Framework Agreement to carefully pack and store approximately 1,500 artworks during the 3-year, £35.5m refurbishment period. The works encompassed a diverse range of mediums and sizes, including paintings by renowned artists such as Reynolds, Sargent, and Freud, as well as depictions of generations of British Royals, from King George III to Princess Diana. The collection’s historical significance and artistic value required a meticulous and discrete approach to handling, transportation, and storage.


Our well-established partnership with the NPG allowed for seamless coordination throughout the project. On-site at the NPG, we expertly packed the artworks, ensuring each piece received a bespoke crate that met the dimensions provided by the gallery, working closely with the NPG’s own art technicians. We also organised the packing and removal of works from Tate Store for long-term storage at our Kimber Road facility. We supplied RAMS for load-in and packing activities.

Given the works’ significance and varied fragility, we facilitated the creation of NPG Museum Specification custom-built crates to ensure maximum protection. We also adhered to the Government Indemnity Standards throughout the transportation of each work, and each Loaded Fine Art Vehicle was couriered by the NPG Registrars & Collection Team.

Our Kimber Road facility has been specifically designed to accommodate artworks of this calibre. Any room at our facility can house racking if requested. For the NPG, our largest single-use room was filled with bespoke racking to meet the requirements of the project, housing the collection securely. Other artworks were transported to Tate Storage, further demonstrating our expertise in orchestrating shuttle transportation between the gallery and off-site facilities of this kind. Under our care, the collection was visited by NPG Conservators and Registrars throughout the storage period and regular audits were completed.

Return transport and reinstallation were executed over three months by way of a staged delivery system. Our technicians and NPG Collection Team Registrars created a marshalling area within the Storage Rooms where packed object crates were load-planned daily before being delivered back to the NPG, and offloaded at dedicated NPG offloading bays.

Challenges and Opportunities

The project timelines fell over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting unique challenges and silver-lining opportunities. Despite the difficulties posed by the lockdowns, we were honoured to work on this milestone project when much of the art world was suspended. Our instruction allowed us to bring staff back from furlough, providing the support necessary to accomplish this momentous task. While, during the most intense period of lockdowns, we were unable to have couriers on the vehicles, they did witness both the loading and offloading.



As part of our milestone project with the NPG, we were contracted to install Another Time XIX, 2023, by Antony Gormley, a solid cast iron figurative sculpture weighing 620kg. We installed the piece on a narrow balustrade, requiring the full scaffolding of the entire bannister to create a top working platform. Plates, fixings and rods were constructed and installed by Price Myers, readying the ground for us to install the piece itself. We raised the sculpture using a scissor lifting table, slings and a Gantry, allowing us to carefully lower the work and secure it to its four fixing points. Gormley attended site visits and was present for a ‘test run’ using a cardboard template!

Our collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery exemplifies our expertise in art logistics, showcasing our ability to handle and preserve priceless cultural treasures. The successful execution of this project further strengthened our bond, solidifying our position as a custodian of artistic heritage.

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