During the 19th cent. British art was poorly represented in the national collections. The 1840s and 1850s saw a number of important bequests to the nation, including that of sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey
, who left his fortune for the purchase of ‘Works of Fine Art … [by] artists resident in Great Britain
’, and the enormous Turner bequest, which the National Gallery was unable to house adequately. In 1890 the sugar magnate Henry Tate gave 60 modern English paintings to the National Gallery provided that a gallery was made available. The offer was twice withdrawn as arguments delayed the provision of a suitable site and funding for a new gallery. Eventually the government offered the prison site at Millbank, London, and the Tate Gallery opened in 1897.
Wealthy benefactors have continued to aid expansion; in 1987 the Turner bequest was finally housed as the artist intended, in the extension funded by the Clore Foundation. The Bankside power station was converted into the Tate Modern, opened in 2000, and the original gallery was renamed Tate Britain.
Tate Gallery, London, originally the National Gallery of British Art. The original building (in Millbank on the former site of Millbank Prison), with a collection of 65 modern British paintings, was given by Sir Henry Tate and was opened in 1897. It was extended by another gift of Tate's in 1899, and in 1910 the Turner wing was completed, the gift of Sir Joseph Duveen. A gallery of modern foreign art was added in 1916, and three new galleries for foreign art and one for the works of John Singer Sargent were opened in 1926. The museum was damaged in World War II but reopened in 1949. In 1987 the Clore Gallery was opened to display the gallery's collection of J. M. W. Turner works, which is the most extensive in the world. Now renamed the Tate Britain, the complex is devoted to British art. The Tate Modern, Britain's first national modern-art museum in 100 years, opened in a large, refurbished power station on the south bank of the Thames in 2000.
See J. K. M. Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery (1958).
UK national collection of modern art. The gallery's main building at Millbank opened in 1897. It started as a collection of British painting and sculpture, which now ranges from the mid-16th century to the present day. A large extension was added in 1979, and in 1987 the Clore Gallery opened, containing the Turner
bequest. There are Tate Galleries in Liverpool and St Ives, Cornwall. The old Bankside Power Station houses the modern, international art collection. Called Tate Modern, it opened to popular acclaim in 2000.
a national museum of art at Millbank, London, founded in 1897 by the sugar manufacturer Sir Henry Tate
(1819–99) to house his collection of modern British paintings, as a nucleus for a permanent national collection of modern art. In the 20th century modern foreign paintings and sculpture (both British and foreign) were added.