Photographs Collection

The Photographs collection consists of more than 250,000 original photographic images of which at least 130,000 are original negatives. They date from the 1840s to the present day. The collection is divided into two parts; a Primary Collection of items that have a catalogue number prefix with the capital letter P and the remainder, which have a lower case 'x', prefix before the catalogue number. Items contained within albums have an 'Ax' prefix.


The Photographs Collection consists of more than 250,000 original photographic images of which at least 130,000 are original negatives.

Display: Spotlight

The early twentieth century saw women increasingly challenging traditional conventions and expectations of their roles in society. This developed alongside the emergence of machine-powered aeroplanes, which offered women a new means for expressing their independence by taking to the skies.

Current and future displays

A look at all our current and future photographic displays.

Photographic albums

An overview of some of the significant catalogued and uncatalogued photographic collections.

Print & negatives

Photographic albums

Photographically Illustrated Periodicals

Photographers in the Collection

Specified subjects covering Photographers within the Gallery’s collection.

Photographers in Focus

A-Z of photographers in the collection

Slideshows: Spotlight on the Collection

Browse curated selections of photographs from the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection centred on particular sitters, photographers or themes

Photography Blog

A look at our Photography related blogs.

Past exhibitions and displays

A look at all the past photographic exhibitions and displays.

Photographic commissions

An overview of the Gallery’s photographic commissions, from 1917 to the present-day’

Interviews with artists and sitters

These resources include transcriptions of video interviews with sitters and artists on the Portrait Explorer in the Digital Space and on the Audio Guide and interviews with photographers for the website.

Photographic terms

A glossary of photographic terms.

Past Photograph of the Month Displays

An archive of Photograph of the Month displays.