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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Originally this term referred to the full-scale preliminary sketch made for a painting. This outline, usually done in chalk or charcoal, was then transferred onto the easel-painting or fresco. Today, a cartoon is a humorous drawing or parody of people or events. It can be a series of drawings that tells a story, as in a strip cartoon.

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King Henry VIII; King Henry VII
by Hans Holbein the Younger
circa 1536-1537
NPG 4027

Alexander II, Emperor of Russia
by James Jacques Tissot
published in Vanity Fair 16 October 1869
NPG 4707(2)

Anthony Trollope
by Sir Leslie Ward
study for drawing published in Vanity Fair 5 April 1873
NPG 3915

John Edward Redmond
by Sir Leslie Ward
7 July 1904
NPG 2983

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Pioneer Podcasts

Listen to a series of podcasts exploring the lives of pioneering women, past and present.

Explore the podcasts

Untitled, c.1973 (Alex Chilton) by William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust

Eggleston Playlist

William Eggleston was closely associated with the alternative music scene in Memphis. Revisit our 2016 exhibition and listen to a special playlist.

Listen to the playlist

Archive interviews

Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.

Watch, listen and read