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Room 27

The 1930s to the Second World War

This room presents two eras: the 1930s and the Second World War, which began in 1939 and lasted until 1945. Many of those represented, from politicians and military leaders to writers and performers, made significant contributions to Britain’s war effort. The 1930s was a decade of contrasts, when scientific innovation developed and the leisure industries grew. However, mass unemployment, unrest and protest enabled the political extremes of fascism and communism to gain support. In Europe, the spread of Nazi politics and anti-Semitism forced people from their homelands, including some of the artists and sitters in this room. The Second World War affected the lives of people from across the British Empire, whether they were members of the armed forces or on the home front.

51 portraits on display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery

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Oskar Kokoschka, by Karel Vogel - NPG 6244

Oskar Kokoschka

by Karel Vogel
painted plaster head, circa 1924-1939
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 6244

Oswald Mosley, by Glyn Warren Philpot - NPG L184

Oswald Mosley

by Glyn Warren Philpot
oil on canvas, 1925
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG L184

John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes; Lydia Lopokova, by William Roberts - NPG 5587

John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes; Lydia Lopokova

by William Roberts
oil on canvas, signed 1932
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 5587

David Bomberg ('Self-Portrait with Pipe'), by David Bomberg - NPG 6653

David Bomberg ('Self-Portrait with Pipe')

by David Bomberg
oil on board, circa 1932
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 6653

Noël Coward, by Horst P. Horst - NPG P419

Noël Coward

by Horst P. Horst
platinum palladium print, 1933
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P419

Elsie Cohen, by Ronald Moody - NPG 7047

Elsie Cohen

by Ronald Moody
bronze bust, 1934-1936
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 7047

Chaim Azriel Weizmann, by Sir Jacob Epstein - NPG 7115

Chaim Azriel Weizmann

by Sir Jacob Epstein
bronze bust, 1934
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 7115

Wallis, Duchess of Windsor; Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII), by Cecil Beaton - NPG P266

Wallis, Duchess of Windsor; Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII)

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 2 June 1937
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P266

Dylan Thomas, by Augustus John - NPG 7049

Dylan Thomas

by Augustus John
oil on canvas, circa 1937-1938
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 7049

Dame Myra Hess, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG P1124

Dame Myra Hess

by Carl Van Vechten
vintage gelatin silver print, 5 April 1937
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P1124

Erno Goldfinger, by Eileen Agar - NPG 6099

Erno Goldfinger

by Eileen Agar
pen and ink, 1938
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 6099

Queen Elizabeth II; King George VI; Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; Princess Margaret, by Marcus Adams - NPG P140(13)

Queen Elizabeth II; King George VI; Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; Princess Margaret

by Marcus Adams
bromide print, 1938
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P140(13)

L.S. Lowry, by L.S. Lowry - NPG L224

L.S. Lowry

by L.S. Lowry
oil on canvas, 1938
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG L224

Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart, by Hein Heckroth - NPG 5907

Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart

by Hein Heckroth
oil on board, 1939
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 5907

Dame Barbara Hepworth, by Naum Gabo - NPG 7057

Dame Barbara Hepworth

by Naum Gabo
pencil on paper, circa 1940
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 7057

Winston Churchill, by Yousuf Karsh - NPG P1368

Winston Churchill

by Yousuf Karsh
bromide print, 1941
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P1368

Sir Barnes Wallis, by Alfred Egerton Cooper - NPG 5464

Sir Barnes Wallis

by Alfred Egerton Cooper
oil on canvasboard, 1942
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 5464

Henryk Gotlib, by Henryk Gotlib - NPG 6642

Henryk Gotlib

by Henryk Gotlib
painted plaster, circa 1942
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 6642

H.G. Wells, by Feliks Topolski - NPG 6324

H.G. Wells

by Feliks Topolski
oil on canvas, 1943
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 6324

Elizabeth Bowen, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P869(5)

Elizabeth Bowen

by Cecil Beaton
vintage bromide print on white card mount, 1943
On display in Room 27 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P869(5)