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.

Advanced Collection search

Gallery history

The timeline below will take you through the National Portrait Gallery's history, from how it came to be in existence to the present day.

To use, click the arrows on either side of the slides to go through each slide individually, or use the bottom timeline to scroll through to locate specific dates.

All images featured in the Gallery History Timeline are © National Portrait Gallery, London unless otherwise stated

The National Portrait Gallery: An Architectural History
Explore Archive journeys

Join

Become a Member

Enjoy access to special events, discounts on the Gallery online shop, supporters’ updates and much more

Join today

Get social

Bringing people together by sharing the portraits and stories of the men and women who have shaped our nation.

Facebook Instagram Twitter

Newsletter

Sign up to recieve information on exhibitions, collections and activities of the National Portrait Gallery, including special offers, shop products, and exclusive competitions.

Sign up