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Our first few individuals have packed their bags, boarded the train and are enjoying some time at home with the people and places that shaped their extraordinary lives.

COMING HOME sees fifty of the Gallery’s iconic portraits returning to towns and cities they are closely associated with. Through this country-wide initiative, portraits from the National Collection are travelling to venues across the UK, and coming face-to-face with local people – many for the first time.

Painting of Dylan Thomas by Augustus John

Dylan Thomas

Poet and writer Dylan Thomas has arrived home in Swansea and the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. Here he will inspire a new wave of local young writers are interviewing older people in the area and creating their own writings on home, place and identity. Meanwhile, their interviewees will paint portraits of the young writers – just as August John painted Thomas 80 years ago.

Dylan Thomas by Augustus John, circa 1937-1938, © estate of Augustus John / Bridgeman Images

Painting of Sir Francis Drake by Unknown artist

Francis Drake

And Sir Francis Drake has journeyed home to Plymouth – over land this time rather than by sailing ship – where he has been reunited with his wife, Lady Sydenham Drake, at their home Buckland Abbey. Amongst a host of trails and activities for families, school children will work with local partners The Box to create icons and designs representing their ideas about home, place, and identity inspired by the portrait.

Sir Francis Drake by Unknown artist, circa 1581, © National Portrait Gallery, London

Death mask of Tracey Emin by Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin

Artist Tracey Emin has headed to the Turner Contemporary, Margate – a town she called home during her formative years. On returning to the town to open a studio in 2019, Emin says “Margate is hip, it’s better than Shoreditch because it’s got the sea, it’s so beautiful. But it’s kind of rough, it’s gritty, it’s not a twee seaside town, it’s got a bit of guts to it.”

Tracey Emin, ‘Death Mask’, by Tracey Emin 2002, © Tracey Emin

What does HOME mean to you?


Look out for our other iconic sitters, that have headed or are heading to Leicester, Hull, Croydon, Sheffield, Nottingham and Manchester.


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