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.

Advanced Collection search

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.

Get Acrobat Reader

Get Acrobat Reader


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


Our channel

View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.

Sit back and watch

Artist and sitter interviews

Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.

Explore behind the scenes

Sleeping Awake

Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.

Hear our story