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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National Heritage Memorial Fund

2010 marks the 30th anniversary of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Over the last three decades the Fund has safeguarded over 1,200 iconic heritage treasures for the nation including The Flying Scotsman, Henry the VIII's flagship, Mary Rose, Turner's The Blue Rigi and most recently the Staffordshire Hoard. Set up in 1980, the Fund provides grants to help acquire the UK's most precious heritage at risk of loss as a living memorial to those who have given their lives in service to the country. Over the last thirty years it has awarded more than £298 million to help build and protect an outstanding national collection ranging from historic houses, monuments and works of art to industrial and maritime heritage and iconic landscapes.

National Heritage Memorial Fund

The National Heritage Memorial Fund has been vital in enabling the Gallery to acquire many portraits of outstanding significance since 1984:


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Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger
circa 1532-1533
NPG 6310

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
studio of Hans Holbein the Younger
circa 1537
NPG 6311

Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk
by Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist
NPG 6676

John Donne
by Unknown English artist
circa 1595
NPG 6790

Karl Friedrich Abel
by Thomas Gainsborough
circa 1765
NPG 5947

Sir Joseph Banks, Bt
by Sir Joshua Reynolds
NPG 5868

Mary Wilkes; John Wilkes
by Johan Joseph Zoffany
exhibited 1782
NPG 6133

Alice Liddell
by Unknown photographer
circa 1880
NPG P991(13)

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Visit From Your Armchair

Self-portrait as My Father from the series Encounter  by Silvia Rosi © Silvia Rosi

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.

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Hold Still

Hold Still

Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.

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Margaret Thatcher by Spitting Images Productions Ltd painted plastic, 1985

Sculptures in 360°

See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.

View the 360s

David Hockney: Drawing from Life

Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.

See the video