Sainsbury Wing at the National Gallery: Venturi Scott Brown with Michael Harvey

Where: National Gallery, Sainsbury Wing

What: Lettering in the Sainsbury Wing 1990s extension to the National Gallery by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. There is lettering in the reception area but more notably there is a large inscription integrated into the grand staircase with the names of Renaissance masters carved as a frieze on a grand scale.

There is also recent (2007) lettering on the exterior facade of the building, underneath the pediment, with the name of the gallery.

Words: Duccio, Massacio, Van Eyck, Piero, Mantegna, Bellini, Leonardo, Raphael

Architect: Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates 

Artists: Michael Harvey and Incisive Letterwork

Date: 1991

Further information:

  • Twelve Letters on a Grand Scale, an extract from Michael Harvey’s book
  • Incisive Letterwork’s website
  • ‘In defense of the Sainsbury Wing’ by Denise Scott Brown, at BD Online – interesting analysis of the relationship between classicism, renaissance and postmodern influences
  • Arch Daily, AD Classics
  • 20 years of the Sainsbury Wing, a podcast from the National Gallery
  • An interview with Robert Venturi
  • Michael Harvey’s obituary in the Guardian
  • Michael Harvey exhibition, Creative Review
  • A critical analysis of the lettering on the facade, by Typefoundry 

Further images: