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

Black History Month

Past online activities archive
1 October - 31 October 2021



For Black History Month we have invited the next generation of creatives, thinkers and cultural leaders to reflect on the sitters in our Collection. We'll be sharing new content here throughout October.

Black History Walks


In this first video, they take us to Kings College London and Central YMCA to share with us the history and work of Harold Moody, who we hold a bust of in our Collection. Born in Jamaica, Moody came to England in 1904 to study medicine at Kings College. The racism he experienced meant he couldn't find a job as a physician with any existing practice, leaving him with no option but to set up his own practice.


In this second video, Black History Walks took us to the Museum of London Docklands and Canary Wharf Pier to share with us the history of the portrait The Secret of England's Greatness by Thomas Barker. This portrait shows Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle presenting an ambassador from East Africa with the Bible in what is likely to have been imagined scene that may have been based on an actual encounter, though it is not known for certain.

We visit Museum of London Docklands and Canary Wharf Pier in this video to unpack the colonial origins of the painting, with both of these areas of London being associated with trade during the Victorian period. The painting itself epitomises the Victorian concept of the British Empire.


In this final film, we went to Notting Hill to share the story of Claudia Jones, the mother of the Notting Hill Carnival. Jones helped launch the Carnival in 1959, which was a celebration of the Black community in response to the Notting Hill Riots. Jones also founded Britain’s first major Black newspaper – The West Indian Gazette.

Virtual Tour

Alayo Akinkugbe, art historian and founder of @ablackhistoryofart, explores key figures from the Gallery’s Collection.

Read our latest blog posts

Discover more highlights from the Collection


Pioneer Podcasts

Listen to a series of podcasts exploring the lives of pioneering women, past and present.

Explore the podcasts

Untitled, c.1973 (Alex Chilton) by William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust

Eggleston Playlist

William Eggleston was closely associated with the alternative music scene in Memphis. Revisit our 2016 exhibition and listen to a special playlist.

Listen to the playlist

Archive interviews

Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.

Watch, listen and read