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.

Search the Collection

Edward James

(1907-1984), Poet, designer and patron of the arts

Sitter in 3 portraits
Poet, designer and patron of the arts, James was a passionate supporter of the Surrealist movement. He built up the finest private collection of Surrealist paintings and art objects, particularly the works of Salvador Dali, René Magritte and Max Ernst, and published John Betjeman's first works of poetry. He inherited considerable wealth, which allowed him to become patron of a number of artistic projects. In 1964 he founded the Edward James Foundation to support and teach artists and craftspeople.

Tell us More

List Thumbnail

Edward James, by Norman Parkinson - NPG P1664

Edward James

by Norman Parkinson
chlorobromide print, late 1930s
NPG P1664

Edward James, by Cecil Beaton - NPG x40241

Edward James

by Cecil Beaton
10 x 8 inch bromide contact print, 1931
NPG x40241

Edward James, by Brenda Herdman - NPG x35184

Edward James

by Brenda Herdman
bromide print, April 1982
NPG x35184

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.