AS and A Level

Gisela Torres, (2009) © National Portrait Gallery
Gisela Torres, (2009)
© National Portrait Gallery

Gallery discussions for AS and A Level History groups last for one hour and can be focused on any appropriate area of the Gallery, including the Contemporary Galleries for Politics students. Some topics are taught in the Ondaatje Wing Theatre as well as in the Gallery spaces to provide a wide context of images for comparison. 

Additionally, we provide Study Days combining a visit to the National Portrait Gallery with a session at the Tower of London. For vocational students there is a talk on the History of Hair and Beauty. See also Cross-curricular sessions for the History of Childhood (A/S Sociology) and ‘In Context’ sessions as background to English AS or A Level set books. Free CPD for teachers is available. There is a free Study Day ‘History meets Art in Portraits of the Great War’ which
includes a visit to the temporary exhibition, and also
free introductory talks on other days.

Tudor Portraits: Images of Authority

Students discover how the visual codes within Tudor portraits can be analysed and understood through undertaking, in small groups, their own analysis of a portrait and presenting it to the class.

  • Maximum 30 students
  • 1 hour

Art, Power and Politics in the Seventeenth Century

Explores the visual language of power and conflict during the reign of the Stuart Kings James I and Charles I, the Civil War and the Interregnum.

  • Maximum 30 students
  • 1 hour

Portraiture, Politics and Empire

How were portraits, including the Relief of Lucknow and Queen Victoria presenting a Bible to an African Prince, constructed to give powerful propaganda messages about Britain itself and its relationship with the wider world?

  • Maximum 30 students
  • 1 hour

Representation and Reform, 1830 - 1885

Visit the Regency and Victorian galleries for a showcase of the main personalities in this tumultuous period, beginning with the abolition of slavery and the Great Reform Act of 1832.

  • Maximum 30 students
  • 1 hour

Who's In?: Collecting the Contemporary

An in-depth look at the issues surrounding contemporary collecting and how the Gallery decides what to collect

  • Maximum 30 students
  • 1 hour

AS/ A2 Tudor History Study Days

In partnership with the Tower of London

Designed in conjunction with Edexcel, AQA and OCR exam specifications

September 2013
Fri 13

November 2013
Fri 8 and Fri 22

December 2013
Fri 6

January 2014
Fri 17, Fri 24 and Fri 31

February 2014
Fri 14

March 2014
Fri 21

April 2014
Fri 25

All 10.30 - 15.00

Comprehensive and unique Study Days developing historical skills required for source investigation. Visiting both the National Portrait Gallery and the Tower of London, groups participate in workshops studying portraiture and architecture from your chosen period.  Select from the following topics:

  • Henry VII
  • Mid-Tudor
  • Elizabethan
  • Maximum 30 students
  • Cost £11 per student, paid to the Tower of London to cover costs incurred. For more information or to book, please contact the Tower of London Education Service on 020 3166 6654.

AS/A Level Study day – History meets Art in Portraits of the Great War


Tues 25 March 2014

11.00-15.00 with a break for lunch (not provided)

Curator Paul Moorhouse introduces the exhibition The Great War in Portraits.  Then, in a guided practical session, students work in class group to analyse large group portraits of key First World War figures. During an extended lunchtime students visit the exhibition and carry out a research activity in small groups, reporting back in the afternoon. The day will end with an ‘Ask the Curator’ session, with questions from the students.

Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale), by Unknown Italian artist, 1785-1786 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale)
by Unknown Italian artist
NPG 4942

The History of Hair and Beauty in Society

The National Portrait Gallery houses the ideal display for studying changing fashions in hair and beauty over the last five centuries.  

Supports BTEC and other vocational qualifications in Hair and Beauty

Use portraiture to examine traditions, innovations and decisions behind the history of hair and beauty. Discover why make-up could kill its wearers, mice nested in eighteenth-century women's hair and how the eradication of smallpox led to a more natural look.

  • Maximum 25 students
  • 1 hour
  • Available as a slide talk in the Ondaatje Wing Theatre or a Gallery talk where the necessary Gallery rooms and staff are available
  • Follow-up webquest: History of Hair and Beauty
  • Step by step guide to the makeup and hair secrets of a Tudor and a Georgian woman