Primary Collection

The Primary Collection contains more than 11,000 portraits. Of these about 4,000 are paintings, sculptures and miniatures, approaching 60% of which are regularly displayed, with the intention to show a further selection. In addition, there are almost 7,000 light-sensitive works on paper, shown on a rotating basis of about 300 items a year to avoid excessive light exposure and thus to minimise deterioration and fading.

Introduction

The Gallery's collecting policy and the purpose of the Collection, and its display in London and beyond the Gallery.

Search the collection

Search by sitter or artist surname within over 200,000 portraits.

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Commissions

Commissioning of paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and works in mixed media over the last 25 years.

Conservation

Fulfilling the long-term preservation of all collection items in order to make them accessible now and in the future.

Visit the Collected Archives

Archive material that has been acquired by the Gallery from external sources because of its relevance to the study of British portraiture.

Selected archive documents relating to Primary Collection portraits