History & Biography


Charles Dickens and his Circle

Historian and writer Lucinda Hawksley explores the life of her great-great-great-grandfather, Charles Dickens – one of the first people to whom the term ‘celebrity’ in its modern sense was applied, and whose extensive circle of friends and associates embraced many of the most eminent and influential figures of the Victorian age.

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Giacometti

An exploration of the development of Alberto Giacometti’s engagement with evoking a human presence, focusing on the artist’s relationship with his main sitters in order to provide a new perspective on his distinctive depiction of the figure.

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Pepys and his Contemporaries

The National Portrait Gallery’s series of compact, fully illustrated, historical guides to literary and artistic personalities and themes. Written by well-known contemporary authors, they examine the lives, thoughts and relationships within each selected group through works from the Gallery’s Collection.

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Shakespeare and his Contemporaries

The National Portrait Gallery’s series of compact, fully illustrated, historical guides to literary and artistic personalities and themes. Written by well-known contemporary authors, they examine the lives, thoughts and relationships within each selected group through works from the Gallery’s Collection.

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Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passions

This book, published to mark the bicentenary of that famous victory, looks at the varied life of this remarkable man, through his portraits and the images of those around him.

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Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy, 1860–1960

This book is about a man and the growth of an idea. The man is William Morris, great Victorian artist-craftsman, designer, poet, polymath and visionary thinker.

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William Morris: Words & Wisdom

A collection of observations by, and about, the great British polymath, visionary, designer and writer. Accompanied by images of Morris, his work and his collaborators.

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The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered

This fascinating introduction to the portraiture of the Tudor monarchs explores how all five kings and queens of this famous English dynasty were represented. The authors also reveal the intriguing findings of recent research and explain how the technical analysis of these portraits has advanced our knowledge of how and when they were created.

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Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision

This revealing, highly illustrated biography of Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) by a leading authority on the Bloomsbury Group accompanies a major exhibition of portraits of the world-renowned British novelist, essayist, biographer and critic and her circle at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

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The Great War in Portraits

The Great War was depicted and reported in a degree of visual detail that was unprecedented in the history of conflict. Published to mark the centenary of its outbreak in 1914, and accompanying a major exhibition, this book looks at the ways in which this ‘war to end all wars’ was represented through portraits of its protagonists – who fought and died on all sides.

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First World War Poets

The National Portrait Gallery’s series of compact, fully illustrated, historical guides to literary and artistic personalities and themes. Written by well-known contemporary authors, they examine the lives, thoughts and relationships within each selected group through works from the Gallery’s Collection.

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Tennyson and his Circle

The National Portrait Gallery’s series of compact, fully illustrated, historical guides to literary and artistic personalities and themes. Written by well-known contemporary authors, they examine the lives, thoughts and relationships within each selected group through works from the Gallery’s Collection.

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21st Century Portraits

An investigation of the latest and most exciting portraits from around the world, this book is an essential reference work in the field of 21st century art.

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Oscar Wilde and his Circle

One of literature’s most witty personalities, Oscar Wilde captivated London society. In this perceptive appraisal of Wilde and those around him – including Aubrey Beardsley, Sir Max Beerbohm and Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas (‘Bosie’) – Simon Callow captures the spirit of one of Britain’s most feted, but ultimately tragic literary figures.

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The Bloomsbury Group

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Bloomsbury Group transformed British culture with their innovative approach to art, design and society. In this book Frances Spalding presents over twenty fascinating biographies, all of which are illustrated with paintings and intimate photographs created by members of the group.

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The Pre-Raphaelite Circle

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood lent its name to one of the most significant and innovative artistic movements of the Victorian age. Jan Marsh’s lively and revealing account of these remarkable men and women explores the individual personalities,the close friendships and the artistic force that bound this diverse group together.

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The Romantic Poets and their Circle

The ideal of the ‘inspired’ artist owes its origin to the figures of the Romantic period, who revolutionised English art and literature. In this book, Richard Holmes explores the portraits and lives of such key poets as Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats, and assesses the impact of their work on contemporary culture and society.

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Bob Dylan: Face Value

An intriguing collection of portraits by the internationally acclaimed icon of American music, Face Value accompanies a display of Bob Dylan’s previously unseen and unpublished pastels produced for the National Portrait Gallery, London.

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Kings and Queens

This popular history of the kings and queens of England is the only book of its kind to address the colourful story of the English monarchy from the Celtic chieftains to the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

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Anthony Van Dyck: The Last Self-Portrait

A short introduction to the great Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading painter at the court of King Charles I in England, with special reference to his final self-portrait, recently acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, London, following a successful popular appeal.

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Heroes and Villains

Heroes and Villains is a unique collaboration with the caricaturist Gerald Scarfe, which will also be the subject of a documentary on BBC Four. In the book, portraits of well-known figures, selected from the National Portrait Gallery's collections, are quirkily juxtaposed with caricatures that depict their villainous side. Gerald Scarfe, Britain's best-known caricaturist, provides these artful, glib distortions, many of which have been specially commissioned. They reveal the wit and vision of an exceptional draughtsman at work.

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