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.


A print produced by the method of drawing on to a metal plate, covered in a waxy, acid-resistant substance, using a metal tool, thus exposing the plate wherever a line should be printed. The etched plate is placed in acid, which eats into the plate where it has been exposed. Ink is then applied and a print taken after plate has been wiped to leave ink in the etched lines only. The tones of black or grey and the darkness of the lines that will appear in the final print can be varied by stopping out part of the design with varnish. The softness of the ground used means that it can be drawn onto freely and easily giving greater spontaneity than the engraving method (see also intaglio).

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The Wilton Diptych (relates to Richard II)
by Wenceslaus Hollar, after Unknown artist
NPG D17882

Thomas Augustine Arne
after Francesco Bartolozzi
1770-1782, based on a work of circa 1770
NPG 1130

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