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


5679 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

Sir John Hannah Gordon, by William Hammer & Co - NPG x16469

Sir John Hannah Gordon

by William Hammer & Co
bromide print, 1910s
NPG x16469

Patrick M'Mahon Glynn, by William Hammer & Co - NPG x167836

Patrick M'Mahon Glynn

by William Hammer & Co
bromide print, 1910s
NPG x167836

Sir John Hannah Gordon, by William Hammer & Co - NPG x167876

Sir John Hannah Gordon

by William Hammer & Co
bromide print, 1910s
NPG x167876

Sir Walter Hartwell James, possibly by Walter Stoneman - NPG x168584

Sir Walter Hartwell James

possibly by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, 1910s
NPG x168584

James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x166190

James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, circa 1916
NPG x166190

Thomas Lough, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x166900

Thomas Lough

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, 1917
NPG x166900

Sir Archibald Paris, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x169809

Sir Archibald Paris

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, 1917
NPG x169809

William Huskisson, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x190998

William Huskisson

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, 1917
NPG x190998

Oldfield Thomas, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x186925

Oldfield Thomas

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, 1918
NPG x186925