The National Portrait Gallery has been publishing detailed collection catalogues since 1963. As part of a wider research programme, the Gallery is working to make catalogue information available online for all portraits in the Collection. This is a challenging task with more than 11,000 individual works to catalogue.
The latest catalogues and databases are being produced online (see Later Victorian Portraits, Making Art in Tudor Britain and, forthcoming, Early Stuart Portraits). Earlier catalogues, published in book form, will be made available online as resources allow. We are looking for support for this programme.
The distinguishing feature of National Portrait Gallery catalogues is their arrangement by sitter, rather than by artist, while cataloguing individual portraits as works of art. For each sitter, an iconography treating portraits in other collections is also included.
Tudor and Jacobean Portraits
by Roy Strong, 2 volumes (1969). Covering the period 1500 to 1625, from Henry VII to Elizabeth I, and the reign of the first of the Stuarts, James I, as well as earlier. A sample entry is available online and others will be included once sufficient funds have been raised
Making Art in Tudor BritainProject leader, Dr Tarnya Cooper. See List of supporters. A major research project on early painting practice and the production of portraits in the Tudor and Jacobean periods. Search the database online at Tudor and Jacobean portraits Search.
Seventeenth Century Portraits
by David Piper (1963). Covering the period 1625 to 1714, the reigns of the Stuart monarchs, as well as the Commonwealth. Partly superseded by Early Stuart portraits and Later Stuart Portraits. A sample entry is available online and others will be included once sufficient funds have been raised.
Early Stuart Portraits 1625-1685
John Ingamells drafted some initial entries for this catalogue before his retirement in 2010. It is hoped to make these available online in 2012. A list of sitters is available. A sample entry is available online and further support is needed to employ a qualified art historian to continue researching and writing catalogue entries.
Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714
by John Ingamells (2010), supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Covering the reigns of James II, William and Mary and Queen Anne, and including Newton, Locke and Wren, the diarists Evelyn and Pepys, as well as Judge Jeffreys and Marlborough. Available as a very generously illustrated hardback (432 pages) through the Gallery’s online shop.
Early Georgian Portraits
by John Kerslake, 2 volumes (1977). Covering the period 1714-1760, the reigns of George I and George II, including such figures as Clive of India, Handel, Hogarth, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, the elder Pitt, Alexander Pope, John Wesley and General Wolfe. This catalogue is now available online.
Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790
by John Ingamells (2004), supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Including some 340 sitters and 460 portraits from the first half of the reign of George III, and featuring Garrick, Johnson, Sarah Siddons and Emma Hamilton, as well as the work of Gainsborough, Reynolds and Romney. Available as a very generously illustrated hardback (640 pages) through the Gallery’s online shop.
by Richard Walker, 2 volumes (1985). Covering the period 1790 to 1830 and including some 600 sitters from the reigns of George III and George IV, among whom Byron, Jane Austen, Nelson, Wellington, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Fanny Burney and George IV himself. A sample entry is available online and others will be included once sufficient funds have been raised.
Early Victorian Portraits
by Richard Ormond, 2 volumes (1973). Covering the period 1830 to 1860 and ranging over 500 sitters and a thousand or so portraits from the reign of William IV and first half of the reign of Queen Victoria. Including Carlyle and Macaulay, Charles Dickens and the Brontë sisters, Michael Faraday and John Stuart Mill, and Prince Albert and Queen Victoria herself. A sample entry is available online and others will be included once sufficient funds have been raised.
Later Victorian Portraits
Project leader, Dr Peter Funnell. Research work on detailed catalogues of Later Victorian Portraits is currently focussed on the Art and Architecture tranche. Search the catalogue online at Later Victorian Portraits Search. Further support is urgently needed to catalogue additional areas of the collection.
20th century portraits
Period curator, Paul Moorhouse. Over the past ten years, living artists and sitters of 20th-century portraits have been contacted for their recollections of the process of creating individual portraits. This is primary material for future work in cataloguing the Collection. The Gallery wishes to develop this work further, subject to funding.
Period curator, Sarah Howgate. We record as much information as possible about contemporary portraits as they are acquired. Transcripts of numerous interviews with artists, sitters and photographers, primary material for future work in cataloguing the Collection, are available at Interviews with artists and sitters. Case studies of individual commissions are available at Commissioning portraits.