The National Gallery in London, founded in 1824, is a museum that hosts a rich collection of more than 2,300 paintings of various ages, from the mid-twelfth century to the last century, at its headquarters in Trafalgar Square. The collection belongs to the British people and the entrance to the main permanent collection is free, although sometimes it is required to pay a ticket to access some special exhibitions. Initially the collection of the National Gallery was rather modest; unlike museums such as the Louvre in Paris or the Prado Museum in Madrid, it did not originate from the nationalization of previous princely or real art collections. It was founded when the UK government acquired 36 paintings by banker John Julius Angerstein in 1824. After that first acquisition, the museum was expanded and improved thanks to the work of its first directors, including Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, and private donations, which to date account for two-thirds of the collection. Over time, the gallery has achieved remarkable results, and also the profound British studies in the field of art history: counting more than two thousand exhibited works, it has the strength to possess at least one work of virtually any major European master from the Middle Ages post-Impressionism, with a complete overview of the salient episodes of Italian, Flemish, Dutch, Spanish, French and, of course, English schools. The various historical-artistic contexts can also be fully reminiscent of a wealth of works by "minor" masters and local schools. The building currently home to the museum, on the north side of Trafalgar Square, is the third to be used for this function and, like its predecessors, has often been considered inadequate. The only part that remained essentially unaltered in the original construction of 1832-1838 is the façade designed by architect William Wilkins, while the rest of the structure has been changed at length and expanded over the years. The most significant changes are due to the work of Edward Middleton Barry and Robert Venturi. The current director is the art historian Gabriele Finaldi, who assumed office in spring 2015. The United Kingdom, in comparison to most European states, decided late to set up a national art collection open to the public. This was not because the opportunity had been missed, since the British government could have purchased a private collection of international standards since the end of the eighteenth century, deciding instead of not doing so. This was the collection by Sir Walter Walpole, which the heirs had decided to sell in 1777. The radical deputy John Wilkes, speaking to the House of Commons, asked that "An adequate gallery, in the large garden of the British Museum , to accommodate that inestimable treasure. "