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 selection of portraits linked to Activity. If you are looking for a specific Activity you can explore the Advanced Search feature and choose the Activity option under Subjects and Themes.


Portraits that show sitters dancing or in places where dancing takes place.

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Drinking and eating

Portraits that show sitters drinking or eating, or where food and drink figure prominently.

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Making art

Portraits that show painters, sculptors and photographers in the act of making art.

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Making music

Portraits that show musicians making music or holding musical instruments.

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Portraits that show sitters reading or holding books and other reading material.

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Portraits that show sitters sleeping or at rest with their eyes closed.

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Portraits that show sitters smoking or holding cigarettes, cigars and pipes.

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Portraits that show sitters writing or holding writing materials.

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Scientific techniques

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

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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