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

Leigh Bowery

(1961-1994), Performance artist

Sitter in 6 portraits
Bowery was an iconic figure who expressed himself through the creation and wearing of elaborate fetishistic costumes, influencing many contemporary fashion designers. As creator of the London night club, Taboo, Bowery played an important role in the club culture of the 1980s. Bowery collaborated with dancer Michael Clark as costume designer and performer in works including Because We Must (1987) and mmm (1992). Other performances include a week-long installation as a living artwork at London's Anthony d'Offay Gallery in 1988. In the 1990s Bowery created controversial performances with his band Minty. He is also known as a model of Lucian Freud's for whom he posed unmasked and naked.

Tell us More

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close

List Thumbnail

Leigh Bowery ('What is he trying to get at? Where does he want to go?'), by Stephen Willats - NPG 6660

Leigh Bowery ('What is he trying to get at? Where does he want to go?')

by Stephen Willats
two panel work (photographic prints, photographic dye, ink, acrylic paint, and objects mounted on board) with tower of ten painted breeze blocks, 1984
NPG 6660

Trojan; Leigh Bowery, by David Gwinnutt - NPG x131399

Trojan; Leigh Bowery

by David Gwinnutt
bromide fibre print, 1983
NPG x131399

Leigh Bowery, by David Gwinnutt - NPG x199663

Leigh Bowery

by David Gwinnutt
modern bromide print from original negative, circa 1983
NPG x199663

Leigh Bowery, by Matthew R. Lewis - NPG x200877

Leigh Bowery

by Matthew R. Lewis
gelatin silver print, 1989
NPG x200877

Leigh Bowery, by Matthew R. Lewis - NPG x200878

Leigh Bowery

by Matthew R. Lewis
resin print, 1989
NPG x200878

Leigh Bowery, by Bruce Bernard - NPG x133164

Leigh Bowery

by Bruce Bernard
C-type colour print, 1992
NPG x133164

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.


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