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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In sculpture a raised image projecting from a flat background. Relief sculpture is that which is not free-standing. According to the prominence of the image, such sculptures are usually classified as high, medium, or low relief. In printmaking relief printing is the oldest technique. Areas are gouged out of a block of wood or other surface, leaving a raised image. Areas cut away will remain blank on the printed paper after the raised surface has been covered in ink and an impression taken. A wide range of materials can be used to make blocks or plates including stone, wood, potatoes and lino (see also woodcut and wood engraving).

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Sir Thomas Lovell
after Pietro Torrigiano
early 20th century, based on a work of circa 1518
NPG 1565

James Thomson
by Unknown artist
after 1748
NPG 4896

Robert Louis Stevenson
by Augustus Saint-Gaudens
NPG 2349

King George VI
by Bertram Park
NPG x1695

Ted Hughes
by Leonard Baskin
NPG 6259

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Pioneer Podcasts

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

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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.

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Archive interviews

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

Watch, listen and read