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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Beeswax, and now synthetic wax, is used for sculpture because of its translucency, its ability to record fine details, and the ease with which it can be coloured. It was very suitable for portraits and in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was used to make replicas of the human anatomy for use in medical schools. It is malleable and can be freely worked with the fingers and hot metal tools, making it popular for making models as in the lost-wax casting technique. It is also used as a protective coating on wood sculpture and can be coloured and brought to a high polish for bronze sculpture.

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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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