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.

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Interviews with artists and sitters

Interviews with artists and sitters

Interviews with artists and sitters

Hear directly from sitters and artists as they discuss how contemporary portraits in the Gallery's Collection were realised. These archive interviews and transcripts below provide a remarkable insight into the process of portraiture, from first approaching a sitter to the final work. The resources below also include transcriptions of historic recordings from the National Sound Archive, readings and speeches from well-known sitters in the Gallery's Collection, including Dylan Thomas, Florence Nightingale and King George V.

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Contemporary sitters

Interviews with sitters from our Contemporary Collection.


Interviews with artists featured in our Contemporary Collection.

Historic recordings

Transcripts of historic recordings with sitters from the National Sound Archive on the Audio Guide.


Transcripts of interviews with photographers on the Portrait Explorer and website.

Explore more special interviews with photographers from our Collection

Explore Photographers in Focus

Audio interviews

Visit From Your Armchair

Self-portrait as My Father from the series Encounter  by Silvia Rosi © Silvia Rosi

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.

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Hold Still

Hold Still

Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.

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Margaret Thatcher by Spitting Images Productions Ltd painted plastic, 1985

Sculptures in 360°

See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.

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David Hockney: Drawing from Life

Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.

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