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

Ida Kar in Cuba

2015 marks fifty years since Kar’s Cuban portfolio was first exhibited in London. This selection from the Gallery’s collection highlights some of the Kar’s finest documentary work. It was by invitation, from the Cuban Embassy, that in 1964 Kar had the opportunity to travel to Cuba to attend the fifth anniversary of the Revolution. There she photographed the president, Fidel Castro, and the country’s leading artists and writers. Kar’s portraits of Cuba and its citizens convey a moving sensibility and expression; her photographs grasp the pride and enthusiasm of the nation’s ideals. In 1999 the National Portrait Gallery purchased the complete surviving Ida Kar Archive, which includes eight hundred photographic prints and ten thousand negatives. Over 1500 works have been catalogued and are available to view online.

Discover

Scientific techniques

Watch our playlist exploring scientific techniques used by the Gallery to unlock the secrets behind our Tudor portraits.

Watch now

Subjects and themes

Search the collection by themes - from pets to weddings!

Discover the Collection


Black History Month

Take a tour exploring our Collection created by Alayo Akinkugbe for Black History Month in 2020.

Take the tour

A Picture of Health

Learn about pioneers in medicine, health and social reform from 1840 to 1920.

Explore the timeline