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 method of drawing with a pen-like tool with a fine silver tip onto paper prepared with a ground covered in a tinted layer. Fragments of metal are deposited on the surface giving very delicate silvery-grey lines and a soft clarity not found in other drawing media. Over time the silver tarnishes and the lines take on more definition. The technique was widely used in the fifteenth century and is still used today.

Previous 1 OF 1 Next

May Morris
by William Rothenstein
NPG 3049

Edward Thomas
by John Laviers Wheatley
NPG 4459

Sir David Piper
by John Ralph Merton
NPG 5773

Previous 1 OF 1 Next


Scientific techniques

Watch our playlist exploring scientific techniques used by the Gallery to unlock the secrets behind our Tudor portraits.

Watch now

Subjects and themes

Search the collection by themes - from pets to weddings!

Discover the Collection

Black History Month

Take a tour exploring our Collection created by Alayo Akinkugbe for Black History Month in 2020.

Take the tour

A Picture of Health

Learn about pioneers in medicine, health and social reform from 1840 to 1920.

Explore the timeline