Subjects and themes
To help visitors explore the Gallery's collections every portrait digitised is keyworded at the Gallery by subject, with five main categories: accessory, activity, dress, genre and theme. Some individual keywords in each category are illustrated with a selection of portraits below. To explore the full list of keywords in each category and the full set of portraits keyworded in each category, go to the Subjects and Themes section under Portrait in Advanced Search.
Objects and other elements within the portrait (examples: art, books, clocks, flowers, maps, mirrors, pets and textiles).
What sitters are doing (examples: dancing, eating and drinking, making art and music, reading, sleeping and writing).
What sitters are wearing and holding (examples: glasses, fans, gloves, hats, jewellery, umbrellas).
Portraiture types (examples: self-portraits, group portraits, portraits of children and families, nudes, weddings).
Overarching themes (examples: diversity, events and occasions, artists in their studios, words and inscriptions, gardens).
View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.
Artist and sitter interviews
Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.
Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.