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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Originating from lithography, chromolithography is a method for making multi-colour prints and includes all lithographs. Lithographers sought to find a way to print on flat surfaces with the use of chemicals instead of relief or intaglio printing. Depending on the number of colours present, a chromolithograph could take months to produce. To make what was once referred to as a “chromo”, a lithographer, using a finished portrait, gradually built and corrected the print to look as much like the painting in front of him, sometimes using dozens of layers. As a process it can be time-consuming and cumbersome, contingent upon the skill of the lithographer.

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Thomas Becket
by and published by John Carter
published 1 July 1786
NPG D23960

Queen Alexandra
by Unknown artist
circa 1863
NPG D10877

Fictitious portrait called Mary, Queen of Scots
after Unknown artist
late 19th century
NPG D31826

Native American Chief
by Cavendish Morton, printed and published by Raphael Tuck & Sons
NPG x128856

Harry Gordon Selfridge ('Men of the Day. No. 1308. "Self-"')
by Alexander ('Alick') Penrose Forbes Ritchie
published in Vanity Fair 6 December 1911
NPG D18063

Horatio Nelson
by Robert Sargent Austin, printed by The Baynard Press, after Lemuel Francis Abbott
published 1943
NPG D17806

Frank Hedges Butler
by Alexander ('Alick') Penrose Forbes Ritchie
early 20th century
NPG D18067

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