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

Search the Collection

Surrealists and their circle


28 People in artist grouping:

Launched by the French poet André Breton in Paris in 1924, the surrealist movement was intended to be an artistic and literary revolution that would occupy an international stage. Artists across the channel in Britain, mainly working in London and Birmingham, would interpret the driving forces of the movement. Heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud’s theories, they attempted to reconcile the unconscious with rational life in their work. They explored the power of dreams, embracing automatism, freeing them from the constraints of conscious thought. In 1936, David Emery Gascoyne, Roland Penrose, Paul Nash and Sir Herbert Read established the British Surrealist group and organized the International Surrealist Exhibition. Held in the New Burlington Gardens, it featured 400 works by artists from 13 different countries and attracted around 1000 visitors per day. The outbreak of WWII forced many artists to move abroad but the influence of the Surrealists and their circle on 20th century and contemporary art is undeniable.

Roland Penrose

Roland Penrose

1900-1984
Painter, art collector; WW2 camoufleur and writer on art
Sitter in 15 portraits | Artist of 1 portrait
Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso

1881-1973
Artist
Sitter in 9 portraits | Artist of 1 portrait
Man Ray

Man Ray

1890-1976
Photographer and artist
Sitter in 16 portraits | Artist associated with 23 portraits
Herbert Read

Herbert Read

1893-1968
Critic, poet and writer on art
Sitter in 18 portraits
Ceri Richards

Ceri Richards

1903-1971
Painter
Sitter in 12 portraits | Artist of 1 portrait
Pavel Tchelitchew

Pavel Tchelitchew

1898-1957
Surrealist painter
Sitter in 2 portraits | Artist of 3 portraits
Julian Otto Trevelyan

Julian Otto Trevelyan

1910-1988
Painter and etcher
Sitter in 9 portraits | Artist of 3 portraits
Edward Wadsworth

Edward Wadsworth

1889-1949
Painter and naval intelligence officer
Sitter in 3 portraits | Artist of 1 portrait