The modern lead pencil is not made of lead but is a compressed mixture of clay and graphite in a wooden or plastic casing. It is a versatile and sensitive drawing tool, often used by artists for preliminary studies which can easily be rubbed out, and comes in varying grades of softness and hardness. Pencils also come in a range of colours, and with the water-soluble kind a line can be made into a wash of colour with a brush and water.

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Sir William Gell
by Cornelius Varley
NPG 5086

Elizabeth Anne (née Rawdon), Lady Russell
by Lord Arthur John Edward Russell, after Sir George Hayter
1873 (1816)
NPG D22548

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
NPG 857

William Holman Hunt
by Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt
NPG 5834

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
NPG 4814

John Lennon
by Cecil Beaton
NPG D17947(123)

John Major
by John Wonnacott
NPG 6410(6)

Parminder Nagra
by Stuart Pearson Wright
NPG 6754

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