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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Research Team, Publications, Collaboration and Funding

Research Team and Collaboration

The project is lead by Dr Tarnya Cooper, Sixteenth Century Curator working with Sophie Plender in our Conservation department. The project team includes a body of scientists, independent painting conservators, art historians and other academics who will provide advice on the methodology and assist with the interpretation of results throughout the course of the project. Our advisory body includes specialist staff at the National Gallery, the Courtauld Institute of Art, the University of Sussex, University College London and the Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE), Amsterdam.

Research team and Publications


The total cost of the project will be over £500,000 over 7 years. We are now in the fifth year of the project and have examined over 100 paintings.

The Gallery has committed £100,000 to the project and we have received over £250,000 in donations and grants so far. Further contributions at all levels are still sought from individuals, companies, trusts and foundations to go towards the end of project display and publication.

If you would like to support the project, request further details or arrange a meeting, please contact Susie Holden or Catherine Yexley. Contact details are given below.

We are grateful to the following charitable trusts, foundations and organisations for supporting this project:

Arts and Humanities Research Council
The British Academy
The John S Cohen Foundation
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
The Idlewild Trust
The Leche Trust
The Leverhulme Trust
PF Charitable Trust
The Märit and Hans Rausing Charitable Foundation
The Mercers' Company
Bank of America Merrill Lynch Foundation

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.

Explore the exhibition

Margaret Thatcher by Spitting Images Productions Ltd painted plastic, 1985

Sculptures in 360°

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

View the 360s

David Hockney: Drawing from Life

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

See the video