Rab MacGibbon

Rab MacGibbon

Associate Curator

My Posts:

Job description

I contribute to the curatorial management and presentation of the Collection with particular responsibility for the seventeenth century. I participate in curatorial meetings; advising on acquisitions, loans, commissions and curatorial policy. I help supervise the upkeep of permanent displays and develop appropriate forms of interpretative content for the galleries. I devise and deliver temporary displays both within the Gallery and at partner organisations. I research the Collection, respond to enquiries, contribute to the Gallery’s public programmes, act in an advisor and represent the Gallery at external events.  


I joined the National Portrait Gallery in 2005, having studied a BA and MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Prior to joining the Gallery I worked for the National Gallery and British Council. I have curated displays on Henry Irving, the Chartists, Gilbert & Sullivan, Captain Scott, Leslie Stephen, Swinburne, Tennyson, Wilde, Edwin Landseer, Florence Nightingale, William Homan Hunt, Nile explorers, Charles Ricketts & Charles Shannon, William Dobson, Lady Jane Grey and Augustus John. I have curated touring displays on Charles I, the Act of Union and the early history of the Royal Society.  My career at the Gallery has included a year as acting seventeenth century curator and periods of cover for the sixteenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century curators.

Research interests

I worked closely with John Ingamells on the Gallery catalogue Later Stuart Portraits, 1685-1714. My recent focus has been the court culture of Henry Prince of Wales (1564-1612) in preparation for the Gallery exhibition The Lost Prince: The Life & Death of Henry Stuart (2012-13).

Recent Publications

Catharine MacLeod (ed.), The Lost Prince: The Life & Death of Henry Stuart, exh. cat. National Portrait Gallery, 2012, for which I have contributed catalogue entries and an appendix on Prince Henry’s patronage of architecture and garden design.