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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Carbon print

Discovered in 1855 by A.L. Poitevin, the carbon process was the first to produce photographic prints that were permanent as they contained no silver impurities that would deteriorate over time. Paper coated with a gelatin containing a carbon black pigment was exposed under a negative in daylight. The paper was then washed to remove the soluble gelatin leaving the residue carbon image. The process was popular between 1870-1900 and produced either black or deep rich brown glossy dark prints.

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John Hanning Speke
by Southwell Brothers
NPG P658

Queen Alexandra
by Symonds & Co
NPG x17460

Queen Victoria
by Alexander Bassano
1887 (1882)
NPG x38284

Sir Sayaji Rao III, Maharaja of Baroda
by Unknown photographer
published 1889
NPG Ax28670

Mary Augusta Ward (née Arnold)
by Herbert Rose Barraud, published by Eglington & Co
published 1889
NPG Ax5470

Sheikh Chidda; Queen Victoria
by Hills & Saunders
17 July 1893

Cecil Henry Meares; Lawrence Oates
by Herbert George Ponting
26 May 1911
NPG P121

Robert Falcon Scott
by Herbert George Ponting
7 October 1911

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Do, draw and make!

Do, draw and make!

From building dens to food faces – enjoy our Playful Portraits activities and find out about some brilliant people!

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Healthcare Heroes

Activities for children and families inspired by three healthcare heroes from our Collection.

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Learning resources

Downloadable and web based resources to support learning at home linked to art, history, citizenship and literacy.

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