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

Inspiring People across the UK

The Gallery’s transformational Inspiring People project includes an extensive programme of nationwide activities. Over the next three years, ambitious partnerships with museums, local community groups and schools will bring the Gallery closer to communities across the UK.

Creative Connections

Creative Connections

Creative Connections is an exciting national participation project for young people and artists that sees the Gallery working in partnership with the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry; Museums Sheffield, Southampton City Art Gallery, and Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange. At each location, GCSE art students work collaboratively with artists to dive into the Gallery’s Collection and discover the portraits and inspirational stories of people associated with their neighbourhood. Their creative response of new artwork offers an insight into community identities and representation, and will be exhibited at each partner venue.  

Discover Creative Connections to date...

Faces and places image

Faces and Places

Faces and Places is an ambitious schools outreach programme that sees the Gallery working with a specialist team of artists and historians to deliver engaging, inspiring and relevant workshops to over 50 schools across London, including those in areas recognised as having a low access to arts provision. Schools in seven boroughs - Brent, Lambeth, Westminster, Haringey, Lewisham, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham - will have the opportunity to actively engage with the diversity of people represented in the Gallery’s Collection, discover artists and artworks and be inspired to create their own artistic responses. Alongside the outreach programme, digital resources will be available for schools nationwide to engage with our Collection.

Find out more

Citizen UK

Citizen UK is a collaborative project working with Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives; the Ealing Local History Centre Archives; the Museum of Croydon and Wolverhampton Arts & Culture to explore post Second World War migration and British citizenship in these areas.  Each site will create an exhibition or online display, working with an artist, and local participants, recruited as ‘citizen researchers’. The citizen researchers will help to identify people missing from the national Collection who have made an impact on British society and are relevant to their communities, and the Gallery will acquire new works as a result.

Discover more about the project

People Powered

People Powered explores the stories of international and world-class industries, ranging from aviation to football, looking at their impact on communities and local landscapes. In collaboration with the University of West LondonBrent MuseumRedbridge Museum & Heritage Centrethe University of Hertfordshire and MIMA in Middlesbrough, the Gallery will work with an artist or filmmaker and a group of young people in each area to collect living memories and stories and make a visual response to the theme. A display of these stories will be held in each location across the three years, with a final show of all the stories at the Gallery when it reopens in 2023.

Discover more about the project

Skills and exchange

National Skills Sharing Partnership Programme

A National Skills Sharing Partnership Programme sees the Gallery work with staff at museums in Belfast, Nottingham, Plymouth and Sudbury, followed by a further eight other locations, to create a UK wide learning network involving collaborative displays, exchanges, mentoring, seminars and internships. Each organisation will have the opportunity to create a bespoke programme that fits their needs.

Find out more about our National programme

Photo Portrait Now

Photo Portrait Now

Photo Portrait Now is a national Higher Education partnership programme in which the Gallery and professional photographers work with photography BA and MA students at Plymouth University, Arts University Bournemouth, UCA Farnham, London South Bank University and the University of South Wales to will create new work and exhibitions inspired by the Gallery’s Collection.


Picturing History

Picturing History

Picturing History is an extensive digital learning resource will enable schools and teachers to explore the Collection for curriculum based teaching and learning.

Explore how we are still inspiring

Funded by The National Heritage Lottery Fund and Art Fund

Do, draw and make!

Do, draw and make!

From building dens to food faces – enjoy our Playful Portraits activities and find out about some brilliant people!

Get Creative

Healthcare Heroes

Activities for children and families inspired by three healthcare heroes from our Collection.

Learn together

Learning resources

Downloadable and web based resources to support learning at home linked to art, history, citizenship and literacy.

Get learning