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.

Advanced Collection search


A small and detailed piece of art, usually a portrait, executed in gouache or watercolour. Sixteenth century miniatures were usually painted in body colour on playing cards or on vellum. In the seventeenth century portrait miniatures were sometimes painted in oil on a metal surface. In the eighteenth century the character was changed by the introduction of ivory as a ground, often painted in transparent watercolour.

Previous 1 OF 2 Next

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger
circa 1532-1533
NPG 6310

Queen Elizabeth I
by Nicholas Hilliard
NPG 108

Peter Oliver
by Peter Oliver
circa 1625-1630
NPG 4853

Previous 1 OF 2 Next


Pioneer Podcasts

Listen to a series of podcasts exploring the lives of pioneering women, past and present.

Explore the podcasts

Untitled, c.1973 (Alex Chilton) by William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust

Eggleston Playlist

William Eggleston was closely associated with the alternative music scene in Memphis. Revisit our 2016 exhibition and listen to a special playlist.

Listen to the playlist

Archive interviews

Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.

Watch, listen and read