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Charles Saumarez Smith was Director of the National Portrait Gallery from 1994 to 2002. He was previously Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum and is the author of The Building of Castle Howard and Eighteenth-Century Decoration: Design and the Domestic Interior in England.

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Out of Print

The National Portrait Gallery
Charles Saumarez Smith

'A splendid guide to 120 of the collections 9,000 works'
Sunday Telegraph

' The National Portrait Gallery gives an informative overview, hot-footing it through the centuries by way of Cromwell, Elizabeth I, Emma Hamilton, Bertrand Russell, Benjamin Britten and Christine Keeler'

The National Portrait Gallery in London houses a unique collection of personalities and faces from the late Middle Ages to the present day. A national pantheon of the greatest names in British history and culture, the collection includes kings and queens, courtiers and courtesans, politicians and poets, soldiers and scientists, artists and writers, philosophers and film stars, from Elizabeth I to David Bowie, from Shakespeare to Stephen Hawking; portrayed by artists from Hans Holbein the Younger to Avedon, from Sir Joshua Reynolds to Paula Rego.

Written by Charles Saumarez Smith, the Director of the Gallery 1994-2002, this book features a selection of over 120 of the finest portraits in the collection, forming a permanent record of the range and diversity of British life over the last five hundred years, and a fascinating overview of the people who created it. It also contains an illustrated history of the Gallery, updated for the revised edition to include the opening of the Ondaatje Wing in 2000, and of the founding of the collection itself.


270 x 220mm, 240 pages
220 illustrations, 200 in colour
ISBN 1 85514 317 8
£15 (paperback) (NPG Visitor Exclusive - revised and updated)

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