The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

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Freedom of information

The aims of the National Portrait Gallery are to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture; and to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media.

These aims embody a commitment to openness, which is reflected in the Gallery’s objectives:

  • the documentation of British portraiture through an archive of photographs, reproductions and relevant reference material and promoting research by students and others.
  • the effective display and interpretation of the collection, both at the Gallery and at other locations across the country.
  • the provision of access to the national collection of portraits for all sections of the population and visitors from abroad and of the facilities necessary for visitors’ enjoyment of the Gallery.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, sets out exemptions from that right, and places a number of obligations on public authorities to disclose information subject to those exemptions.  

Under the terms of the Act, anyone can request information from a public authority, although the request must made be in writing (letter or e-mail).  They have the right to be told whether the information exists and to receive the information, if it is not exempt from disclosure, within twenty working days, where possible in the manner requested.

The Gallery publishes a wide range of information that may be of interest to the general public, researchers and other specialised audiences on its website. A guide to this information is available:
Guide to information published by the National Portrait Gallery

To request information about the Gallery that is not published on the website go to:
Requests for information not published on the website

Immunity from seizure


Scientific techniques

Watch our playlist exploring scientific techniques used by the Gallery to unlock the secrets behind our Tudor portraits.

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Subjects and themes

Search the collection by themes - from pets to weddings!

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Black History Month

Take a tour exploring our Collection created by Alayo Akinkugbe for Black History Month in 2020.

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A Picture of Health

Learn about pioneers in medicine, health and social reform from 1840 to 1920.

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