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A drawing material, similar in texture and appearance to pastels, made from various soft stones or earths. The three main types are black, red (also called sanguine, and white chalk. They are applied dry to paper and smudge easily so can be blended and mixed. Today processed coloured chalks are produced by mixing the limestone rock used in white chalk with pigments, water, and a binding agent such as gum.

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Allan Ramsay
by Allan Ramsay
NPG 1660

Marie Tussaud
attributed to Francis Tussaud
circa 1842
NPG 2031

Samuel Smiles
by Louise Jane Jopling (née Goode, later Rowe)
NPG 1856

James Anthony Froude
by John Edward Goodall
circa 1890
NPG 1439

Athol Fugard
by Peter Wardle
NPG 6679

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Visit From Your Armchair

Self-portrait as My Father from the series Encounter  by Silvia Rosi © Silvia Rosi

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.

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Hold Still

Hold Still

Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.

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Margaret Thatcher by Spitting Images Productions Ltd painted plastic, 1985

Sculptures in 360°

See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.

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David Hockney: Drawing from Life

Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.

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