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.


These were small cards, the size of a formal visiting card about 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches (11.4 x 6.3 cm), with a black-and-white photograph attached, often of a celebrity. They were invented in 1854 by A.A.E. Disderi and were hugely popular in the 1860s and often collected in Victorian portrait albums. The backs of the cards were normally printed with the photographer's name, address and insignia.

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Florence Nightingale
by William Edward Kilburn
(circa 1856)
NPG x46634

Isambard Kingdom Brunel
by Robert Howlett, published by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company
November 1857
NPG x4836

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