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

Discover the Contemporary portraits

Explore the Gallery's Collection through the Contemporary period


An introduction to contemporary portraiture through the prism of the National Portrait Gallery focusing on works from the collection and temporary exhibitions.


The National Portrait Gallery commissions a small number of portraits every year as part of its commitment to collecting portraits of those who have made an important contribution to British history and culture.

Blog posts

Read the Galleries blog posts subjected around contemporary works, featuring acquisitions, exhibitions and installation.

Interviews with artists and sitters

Transcriptions of video interviews with sitters and artists on the Portrait Explorer in the Bookshop and on the Audio Guide and interviews with photographers for the website.

BP Portrait Award: Next Generation

Get involved with creative portraiture and connect with artists with BP Portrait Award: Next Generation.

BP Portrait Awards

The BP Portrait Awards represents the very best in contemporary portrait painting.

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is the leading international competition that celebrates the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world.

The Queen: Art and Image timeline

Timeline of Queen Elizabeth II reign from 1952 to the present day

Bailey's Stardust: In Conversation

On 10 April 2014, David Bailey joined curator and broadcaster Tim Marlow at the Gallery to discuss his life, work and celebrated sitters.