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

Helmut Gernsheim

(1913-1995), Photographic historian and collector

Sitter in 4 portraits
Gernsheim is noted as the author, with his wife, Alison Eames, of The History of Photography, published in 1955. During research he made several key finds, rediscovering the photographs of Lewis Carroll and identifying the oldest existing photograph. Born in Germany, he studied art history and photography. He fled to England in 1937 and served a wartime stint as photographer for an architectural survey at the Warburg Institute of Art in London, becoming a British citizen in 1946. He began collecting photographs in 1945, eventually acquiring a vast collection, now held at the University of Texas. He published biographies of Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron and Louis Daguerre.

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

Helmut Gernsheim, by Ida Kar - NPG x31633

Helmut Gernsheim

by Ida Kar
2 1/4 inch square film negative, 13 January 1962
NPG x31633

Helmut Gernsheim, by Ida Kar - NPG x132972

Helmut Gernsheim

by Ida Kar
2 1/4 inch square film negative, 13 January 1962
NPG x132972

Helmut Gernsheim, by Ida Kar - NPG x125361

Helmut Gernsheim

by Ida Kar
vintage bromide print, 13 January 1962
NPG x125361

Helmut Gernsheim, by Ida Kar - NPG x125362

Helmut Gernsheim

by Ida Kar
vintage bromide print, 13 January 1962
NPG x125362

Related People


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.