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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Clay

A natural material made by the decomposition of different types of rock, its availability and malleability make it a popular material for sculpting. When mixed with water it becomes a paste that can be shaped and when fired it becomes hard and durable. The mixture of components varies greatly, so clays vary in their colour and texture, as well as in workability and how they react to firing. In portrait sculpture clay is more often used as part of the sculptural process for modelling. Many bronzes start as clay models before they are fired.

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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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