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.
Robert West; Matthew William Peters
by Matthew William Peters
7 November 1758
by François Hüet-Villiers
Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram
by Bernard Partridge
published in Punch 21 November 1928
by John Randall Bratby
by Howard Morgan
Arnold Abraham Goodman, Baron Goodman
by Lucian Freud
Tudor and Elizabethan matching pairs
Test your memory by playing our matching pairs game. Three levels of difficulty make it fun for the whole family.
Regency familiar faces
Rearrange tiles to uncover sitters from the Gallery's Collection by playing our puzzle game.
Who do you think you were?
Answer a few lifestyle questions about the Elizabethan period and discover your inner Elizabethan!