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.


Specially developed downloadable PDFs, audio and web-based resources to support school-based learning around portraiture and the Gallery’s exhibitions and the Collection.

Group using the Portrait Explorer

Portrait Explorer

Use our Portrait Explorer resource to research and plan your lessons. Discover inspirational sitters and significant individuals who can bring your teaching to life.

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Mo Mowlam (detail) by John Keane © National Portrait Gallery, London

Interviews with artists and sitters

Explore how contemporary portraits were realised through interviews with artists and sitters, talking about the portrait process.

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Lucian Freud (detail) by Lucian Freud © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images


Investigate and study a variety of portraits in different media from our collection through a series of resources organized thematically. Art techniques, Image and Identity, Portrait Photography, the Practice of Portraiture and Webquests.

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Queen Elizabeth I (detail) by Unknown English artist © National Portrait Gallery, London


Discover more about our collection and learn to read portraits as historical evidence.

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Benjamin Zephaniah (detail) by Donald MacLellan © Donald MacLellan


Discover the faces of poets working today. Explore how photography and portraiture can enhance and shape poetry learning.

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Harry Stopes-Roe; Marie Stopes (detail) by Bassano Ltd © National Portrait Gallery, London


Discover ideas and lines of enquiry for how portraiture can support citizenship teaching in your classroom.

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Emmeline Pankhurst (detail) by Georgina Agnes Brackenbury © National Portrait Gallery, London

Interactive classroom activities

Discover more about our collection and learn to read portraits as historical evidence.

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Dame Zaha Hadid (detail) by Michael Craig-Martin © National Portrait Gallery, London


Series of resources to support SEN/ACCESS learning using key portraits from the collection.

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