Portrait Explorer

Explore over 46,000 sitters and artists and 110,000 portraits Easy-to-use touchscreens Find out about the Gallery's most intriguing and unusual portraits A Regency version of the Portrait Explorer is located in the Weldon Galleries The Portrait Explorer is located in the Digital Space on the Ground Floor mezzanine

The Portrait Explorer provides visitors with digital access to over 46,000 sitters and artists and 110,000 portraits from the Gallery’s Collections through easy-to-use touchscreens.

Some of the unique features of the Portrait Explorer:


1. Create your own tour

If a portrait is on display in the Gallery, you can create your own tour to help you find them in the Gallery. Additionally there are 25 ready-made tours to follow on themes as diverse as Self-portraits and Events and Occasions. Both personalised and ready-made tours can be printed in colour free of charge.


2. Use timelines to explore historical periods

If you are not familiar with British history, let us guide you through from the 15th to 21st centuries, viewing portraits from a particular period. A detailed year-by-year timeline is available on the Portrait Explorer covering the Regency Period.


3. Find out who is who in a group portrait

The Portrait Explorer makes finding out who is who in a group portrait easy. Just touch the head of any sitter in a group portrait or touch the name to reveal the person of interest to you.


4. Delve into archival documents

Portrait Explorer makes available to the public hundreds of archival documents not normally on display to the public. These include correspondence to the Gallery from sitters and artists and their descendants, with transcriptions, providing visitors with insight into the production of particular portraits.


5. See portraits in magnified detail

Every portrait can be magnified so that artistic and photographic techniques can be appreciated in greater detail.


6. Watch video interviews with artists and sitters

Watch a selection of video interviews with artists, photographers and sitters to learn more about how some of the portraits in the Contemporary Collection were produced. Play the whole interview, or select the questions you wish to see answered, all with an on-screen transcription.



Where to find the Portrait Explorer

  • The Portrait Explorer is available for public use in the Digital Space on a mezzanine level above the main Ondaatje Wing entrance hall. The lift from the Ground Floor providing access to the Digital Space is currently out of service (until June 2014) so please use one of the screens in Room 20 to access the full range of material on the Portrait Explorer.

  • There are three Portrait Explorers dedicated to the Regency period in the Weldon Galleries(Rooms 17 and 20) plus one temporarily allocated (until June 2014) to the full range of material on the Portrait Explorer within the Digital Space.

  • There is a variation of the Portrait Explorer focussed on Tudor miniatures in Room 3.

  • The Portrait Explorer is also accessible at our three regional partnerships: Beningbrough Hall in Yorkshire, Bodelwyddan Castle in North Wales and Montacute House in Somerset.