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One of the oldest drawing materials, charcoal has great versatility and is often used for making spontaneous, large and bold drawings or for drawing out an image before painting. It is usually made from charred willow twigs and is also sold compressed into solid sticks. Charcoal is soft and fragile and can be used to give either a soft or strong quality of line, or alternatively smudged and dragged over the paper for textured effects and shading.

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Robert West; Matthew William Peters
by Matthew William Peters
7 November 1758
NPG 2169

Giuseppe Naldi
by François Hüet-Villiers
NPG 2782

Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram
by Bernard Partridge
published in Punch 21 November 1928
NPG 4970

Eileen Joyce
by John Randall Bratby
NPG 5975

Tom Stoppard
by Howard Morgan
NPG 6559

Willy Russell
by Peter Edwards
NPG 6093

J.K. Rowling
by Stuart Pearson Wright
NPG 6745(12)

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Tudor and Elizabethan matching pairs

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Regency familiar faces

Rearrange tiles to uncover sitters from the Gallery's Collection by playing our puzzle game.

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Who do you think you were?

Answer a few lifestyle questions about the Elizabethan period and discover your inner Elizabethan!

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