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

Doris Lessing

(1919-2013), Writer; Nobel Prize winner

Doris May Lessing

Sitter in 16 portraits
Writer, Doris Lessing was born in Iran, brought up in Zimbabwe and lived in Britain from 1949 until her death in 2013. Her first novel, The Grass is Singing (1950), was followed by numerous novels, short stories and plays, including her best known work The Golden Notebook (1962), which was adopted by the feminist movement. Her writings touched on diverse themes from race politics, colonialism and communism to gender and science fiction. She was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature and her final book Alfred and Emily was published in 2008.

Tell us More

2 Likes voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

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

Make a donation Close

List Thumbnail

Doris Lessing, by Lord Snowdon - NPG P823

Doris Lessing

by Lord Snowdon
vintage bromide print, 25 February 1992
NPG P823

Doris Lessing, by Leonard William McComb - NPG 6516

Doris Lessing

by Leonard William McComb
oil on canvas, 1999
NPG 6516

Doris Lessing, by Leonard William McComb - NPG 6517(1)

Doris Lessing

by Leonard William McComb
pencil, 1999
NPG 6517(1)

Doris Lessing, by Leonard William McComb - NPG 6517(2)

Doris Lessing

by Leonard William McComb
oil on canvas, 1999
NPG 6517(2)

Doris Lessing, by Ida Kar - NPG x88537

Doris Lessing

by Ida Kar
vintage bromide print, early 1950s
NPG x88537

Doris Lessing, by Ida Kar - NPG x127281

Doris Lessing

by Ida Kar
vintage bromide print, early 1950s
NPG x127281

Doris Lessing, by Mark Gerson - NPG x88216

Doris Lessing

by Mark Gerson
modern bromide print, April 1956
NPG x88216

Doris Lessing, by Ida Kar - NPG x132971

Doris Lessing

by Ida Kar
2 1/4 inch square film negative, late 1950s
NPG x132971

Doris Lessing, by Ida Kar - NPG x134001

Doris Lessing

by Ida Kar
2 1/4 inch square film negative, late 1950s
NPG x134001

Doris Lessing, by Roger Mayne - NPG x4062

Doris Lessing

by Roger Mayne
bromide print on card mount, 1959
NPG x4062

Doris Lessing, by Godfrey Argent - NPG x166012

Doris Lessing

by Godfrey Argent
bromide print, 5 December 1969
NPG x166012

Doris Lessing, by Marianne Majerus - NPG x76517

Doris Lessing

by Marianne Majerus
bromide fibre print, 1984
NPG x76517

Doris Lessing, by Granville Davies - NPG x31037

Doris Lessing

by Granville Davies
bromide fibre print, May 1988
NPG x31037

Doris Lessing, by Ben Murphy - NPG x88071

Doris Lessing

by Ben Murphy
C-type colour print, March 1999
NPG x88071

Doris Lessing, by Reme Campos - NPG x138156

Doris Lessing

by Reme Campos
C-type colour print, Published 20 April 2008
NPG x138156

Web image not currently available

Doris Lessing

by Mark Gerson
bromide print, April 1956
NPG x17968

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.

Get Creative

Develop your art skills

Discover our BP Next Generation short films made by artists. Follow step by step guides in drawing and painting techniques.

Improve your skills

Hold Still

Hold Still photography workshop

Reflect on your own experiences of lockdown through this easy-to-do from home, photographic exercise. 

Watch the video

Draw Like a Renaissance Master

Revisit The Encounter exhibition and learn about Renaissance and Baroque drawing methods and materials.

Improve your technique