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

National Photographic Record: negatives by Walter Stoneman, 1917-58


9144 Portraits in set

The National Photographic Record began in 1917, during the First World War, at the instigation of Walter Stoneman, the chief photographer for the long established firm of Russell & Sons. A selected range of eminent people of the day were invited to make an appointment to sit at Stoneman's studio and from each sitting a mounted print was added to the NPR. Reproduction fees from the publication of any of these photographs were shared between the photographer and the National Portrait Gallery. The collection was made for record purposes only, with no intention of the results being exhibited. Despite controversy caused by working exclusively with one selected photographer, the collection of postcard-sized prints of eminent people of the day grew over the years to an archive of over 10,000 subjects. Each year approximately 200 new subjects were added to an alphabetical sequence now housed in 436 boxes and viewable by appointment. Stoneman was succeeded, on his retirement and death, by Walter Bird (active 1958-1967), and then by Godfrey Argent (active 1967-1970). In addition, the Gallery also holds approximately 10,000 NPR whole- and half-plate glass negatives taken between 1917 and 1958, arranged chronologically, which consist of up to five alternative poses taken at the NPR sitting.

List Thumbnail

Royal group including Queen Victoria and Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x189248

Royal group including Queen Victoria and Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia

by Walter Stoneman
half-plate glass copy negative, copied January 1948 (April 1894)
NPG x189248

Sir (R.) Henry Rew, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x159881

Sir (R.) Henry Rew

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, 1917
NPG x159881

Hamo Thornycroft, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x20703

Hamo Thornycroft

by Walter Stoneman
half-plate glass negative, 1917
NPG x20703

Thomas Lough, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x20709

Thomas Lough

by Walter Stoneman
negative, 1917
NPG x20709

Thomas Lough, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x20710

Thomas Lough

by Walter Stoneman
negative, 1917
NPG x20710

Sir (Henry) Frank Heath, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x20712

Sir (Henry) Frank Heath

by Walter Stoneman
negative, 1917
NPG x20712