THE LONG-awaited reopening of the Turner House in Penarth town centre will be delayed due to coronanavirus restrictions, Penarth Town Council has confirmed.

After two years of discussions with Amgueddfa Cymru – the National Museum Wales – on how to transform the gallery, Penarth Town Council had aimed to get it ready by the end of this month.

The plan is to open the venue as a new multi-purpose cultural venue.

The target for the reopening was January 24, although the town council did say that was subject to the ongoing restrictions.

In light of the current restrictions, on Thursday a council spokesman said: “We are very excited about bringing The Turner House to Penarth but as you will know, the ongoing restrictions mean the gallery cannot open as planned on 24th January.

“Whilst this is disappointing for all of us, we are confident that you will understand that this small delay is a necessary step to help keep our community safe in these unprecedented times.

“We have been in regular contact with our programme partners and we are pleased to say that all planned exhibitions and events will be able to take place in due course, including the upcoming Hayward touring exhibition of works by Eduardo Paolozzi.

“In the meantime, we will keep you updated on the development of the new gallery spaces and share highlights of our special permanent exhibition which documents the history of The Turner House.

“Thank you all for your kind messages and support. Stay safe, and we look forward to welcoming you soon.”

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1924–2005) was one of the pioneers of the pop art movement in the UK; his prints and collages highlight the importance of visual culture in times of crisis.

Exhibitions of work by Henri Matisse, Quentin Blake, and Melin Tregwynt are scheduled for later in 2021.

Of particular interest will be the annual Penarth Open Exhibition which will invite local artists of all ages to exhibit their artworks in the gallery.

What is the Turner House gallery?

The gallery was first opened in 1888 to exhibit the personal collection of local flour merchant, James Pyke-Thompson. He believed that seeing art improved wellbeing, and he made sure everyone could visit the gallery by opening on Sundays.

After Mr Pyke-Thompson’s death the building was gifted to Amuegeddfa Cymru in 1897.

Many will also recall Ffotogallery, who took up residence in 2003 as the Welsh centre for photography until their departure in 2016.

In 2016, there were plans to turn the gallery into a monthly food indoor food market, but this received a backlash from residents. Many pointed out the gallery was gifted with its sole aim being to promote art in Penarth.