Robin Francis

Robin Francis

Head of Archive & Library

My Posts:

Job description

As Head of the Heinz Archive and Library I am responsible for the Gallery’s research collections and for the provision of services that support research by Gallery staff and, through a public study room and enquiry service, external research interests.  I have particular responsibilities for the iconographical resources held by the Archive & Library, comprising a visual resource that contains over 600,000 portrait images and the reference collection of prints and drawings.  My role includes acquiring material for these collections, researching and creating displays for the Gallery’s public programmes, and overseeing projects to research, catalogue and digitise resources for the Gallery’s website.


I joined the National Portrait Gallery in 1998.  I studied for a BSc (Hons) Library and Computer Studies at Loughborough University before commencing a research degree at University College London and studying Art History at Birkbeck College London, and completed an MA with distinction in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL.  I sit on the steering committee of the Understanding British Portraits network and was a member of the advisory committee for the AHRC-funded British Printed Images to 1700 project and of the working group for the British Cartoon Forum. 

Research interests

My academic research was focused on bibliographical and museological subjects and in my present role I have taken a particular interest in the history of the National Portrait Gallery and the development of visual resources for historical research purposes. Current research interests are centred upon the collections held by the Archive and Library, with a focus on the visual culture and history of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Recent Publications

The Heinz Archive & Library at the National Portrait Gallery’ (Past and future: the magazine of the Institute of Historical Research Spring/Summer 2011).