The Tate Britain that we see today is a very different gallery from the one which opened in 1897.
Since its original opening, with just eight rooms displaying 245 pictures it has had seven major building extensions.
Two years after it opened, an extension paid for by Henry Tate and designed by the original architect Sidney E.J. Smith was added, doubling the
Gallery's original capacity.
In 1910, a new Turner wing was built. When the artist J.M.W. Turner died he left a gift of his paintings and drawings to the nation on the
understanding that a gallery should be built to house them.
However the Turner Bequest (as this gift of over 30,000 works on paper and oil paintings is named), had since remained in storage in the National
Gallery and the British Museum.
This extension to the Tate, funded by the arts and antique dealer J.J. (Sir Joseph) Duveen and designed by the architect W.H. Romaine-Walker,
added five rooms to the main floor of the Gallery and two to the lower, allowing Turner's paintings to finally be removed from storage and
displayed together as the artist had intended.
Sadly, Duveen died before the extension was finished and it was his son, Joseph Duveen, who funded its completion.
The Curzon Report published in 1917 gave Tate the responsibility for housing the nation's modern international collection as well as British works.
In the early 1920s Joseph Duveen, who had helped fund the 1910 Turner wing and who also provided funding for the purchase of works for the Collection,
pledged £30,000 towards the building of new galleries to display modern foreign paintings.
In order to ensure that the architecture of the new Modern Foreign Galleries was consistent with that of the 1910 extension, the same architect,
W.H. Romaine-Walker was commissioned along with his assistant Gilbert Jenkins and a younger architect, Charles Holden.
The new galleries, opened on 26 June 1926 by King George V, were very grand: they featured green marble doorways, gilt ceilings, silk wall-hangings,
and marble-edged parquet floors.
They were also fitted with state-of-the-art subdued electric lighting and a ventilation system to purify the air.
If you enter the Tate from its Millbank entrance today, you see in front of you a huge vista stretching for some 300 feet.
This sense of space is created by the two long galleries with high barrel-vaulted ceilings, that stretch beyond the rotunda.
Added in 1937, they were the first public galleries in England designed specifically for the display of sculpture, and are referred to as the 'Duveens'
after Sir Joseph Duveen who funded them.
The architects of the Duveen Sculpture Galleries were Romaine-Walker and Gilbert Jenkins, the team who had also designed the 1926 gallery extension
"The 'North East Quadrant' was added in 1979.
Since the 1950s an extension that would substantially increase the Gallery's exhibition space had been discussed.
However it was not until the 1960s that plans were drawn up.
The architect, Richard Llewelyn-Davies, was provided with a brief to produce plans for two projects which together would increase space at the Tate
by fifty per cent and provide a lecture theatre, a new conservation studio, and a new restaurant with river views.
Project 'A' involved building across the front of the original building, thus removing the front steps and portico.
Although accepted by the Board of Trustees and the Ministry of Public Buildings, the design was extremely controversial and provoked much debate in
the press. 20,000 people came to see the plans and model of the proposed extension which were exhibited at the Tate in January 1969.
Public opinion was overwhelmingly against it, as the building's existing classical frontage with its statue of Britannia was seen as a landmark and
a familiar symbol of the Tate.
Project 'A' was therefore rejected and replaced by Project 'B', which involved building on the north-east area of the site - known as the North
East Quadrant. The extension was opened by the Queen on 24 May 1979.
Opening celebrations included a spectacular fireworks display over the river, designed by the artist John Piper.
Floor plans of Tate Gallery Development 1897-2001
© Campbell Reith Hill LLP
In October 1982, work began on the construction of a new wing to house the Turner Bequest.
The Clore Foundation offered between £5m and £6m towards building costs, and with further funding from the Office of Arts and Libraries, the total sum
raised was £6,850,000.
James Stirling was appointed as the architect, and the foundation stone was laid by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1982.
The new wing, or Clore Gallery as it was called, included north-lit galleries, a lecture theatre, study room and paper conservation studio.
Although boldly modern, Stirling ensured his design included classical references which linked it to the main gallery building - such as the pediment
over the entrance to the new wing, an abstract echo of the Victorian portico.
The extension was opened on 1 April 1987 by HRH Queen Elizabeth II, and went on to win a RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) award in 1988.
© Tate Archive
© Tate Archive
© Tate Archive
© Centre Canadien d'Architecture / Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal
The most recent addition to the building is the Centenary Development which opened on 1 November 2001.
With the creation of Tate Modern, built to house modern international works of art and opened in May 2000, the original Tate building on Millbank has
again become a gallery devoted to showing British art.
The development involved the building of ten new galleries, refurbishing five existing ones and creating an additional ground floor entrance on
It also included the conversion of the disused art storage areas under the main building, into a new Research Centre to house the expanding Library
and Archive Collection.