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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"Photograph of empty frames in National Portrait Gallery, following the evacuation of the portraits for their safekeeping"

Given its central London location, the National Portrait Gallery was a vulnerable target during both the First and Second World Wars.  These pages tell its story: how the Collection was kept safe, how the building survived air attack and how staff adjusted to wartime life.       

The records of the Gallery’s wartime activities are housed in the Heinz Archive and Library.  You can search the Archive Catalogue for the records and view them in person by making an appointment.   


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