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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Originally any paint in which pigment is mixed (tempered) with glue or gum and thinned with water. The most common form of the medium is egg tempera, which was the most important painting technique in Europe until the end of the fifteenth century. Pigment is bound together with egg yolk, giving a smooth, fast-drying paint suitable for fine work. Built up with quick, repeated brushstrokes in translucent layers, an opaque surface covered in fine lines with a soft sheen is produced. Recent years have seen a revival of tempera techniques.

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J.G. Ballard
by Brigid Marlin
NPG 6557

Elvis Costello
by Adam Birtwistle
NPG 6460

Amartya Kumar Sen
by Antony Williams
NPG 6640

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Do, draw and make!

Do, draw and make!

From building dens to food faces – enjoy our Playful Portraits activities and find out about some brilliant people!

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Healthcare Heroes

Activities for children and families inspired by three healthcare heroes from our Collection.

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Learning resources

Downloadable and web based resources to support learning at home linked to art, history, citizenship and literacy.

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