New National Portrait Gallery Entrance Revealed - Showing Off Stunning Tracey Emin Artwork

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 12 months ago

Last Updated 19 June 2023

New National Portrait Gallery Entrance Revealed - Showing Off Stunning Tracey Emin Artwork
Three bronze doors engraved with the faces of women
The Doors is a permanent female-focused installation by Tracey Emin. © Olivier Hess.

It's still a few days until the National Portrait Gallery reopens its doors, but in the meantime you can admire new artworks that have appeared ON its doors.

As part of a new entrance on the gallery's north side, three grand bronze doors have been etched with the squiggly faces of 45 women. The installation — which will be seen (and indeed used) by a couple of million visitors each year — is the work of the unimpeachable Tracey Emin, and is entitled simply 'The Doors'.

Tracey Emin looking at the camera with one of her artworks in front of her, and a black cat on the table
Tracey Emin in her Studio, working on the installation designs © Harry Weller.

Says Emin about the installation: "Women in history are greatly underrepresented. I didn’t want to depict specific or identifiable figures. I felt like the doors of the National Portrait Gallery should represent every woman, every age and every culture throughout time. I used my self as a mental template, but the end result is many different women, some that exist in my mind and some that perhaps exist in reality here and now, as well as from the past.

"And with all terms of art, it's up to the viewer to discern what they feel and what they see or who they see for that matter. I want people to stand in-front of the doors and say, 'she looks like my mother, she looks like my best friend, my daughter.'"

A close up of a few of the bronze panels with women etched into them
The three bronze doors contain 45 panels, each of which features an Emin artwork. © Olivier Hess.

The Doors are a direct challenge to/balancing act with the slew of Portland stone busts carved into the building’s original façade, featuring 18 men including Horace Walpole, Hans Holbein the Younger, Sir Anthony van Dyck and Sir Joshua Reynolds.

The new north entrance and forecourt to the National Portrait Gallery is named Ross Place, after the Ross Foundation, which donated a significant slice of cash towards the gallery's renovation. It reopens on 22 June 2023, with fresh galleries, rehangs, and exhibitions from Paul McCartney and Yevonde.