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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Term describing effects of light and shade in a work of art, especially when there is strong contrast between the two. Sometimes a dramatic effect is created in a painting by a shaft of light, which gives sharp shadows like that given by a spotlight.

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Sir Christopher Wren
by Elisha Kirkall, after Henry Cook (Cooke), after John Closterman
circa 1720-1742
NPG D18735

The Death of the Earl of Chatham
by John Singleton Copley
NPG L146

Joan Collins
by Cornel Lucas
NPG x27871

Christine Keeler
by Lewis Morley
NPG P512(13)

Steve Martland
by Andrew Catlin
June 1989
NPG x35991

Linford Christie
by Alistair Morrison
February 1996
NPG x77035

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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.

View the 360s

David Hockney: Drawing from Life

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

See the video