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

Reframing Narratives: Women in Portraiture

Virginia Woolf

Left to Right: Anna May Wong by Atelier Gudenberg published by Ross-Verlag, 1920s © National Portrait Gallery, London; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky by Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 1959 © Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust 2021; Virginia Woolf by Ray Strachey, late 1920s, © National Portrait Gallery, London

In partnership with ChanelReframing Narratives: Women in Portraiture is a three-year project, which aims to enhance the representation of women in the Gallery’s Collection and highlight the often-overlooked stories of individual women who have shaped British history and culture.

Led by Chanel Curator for the Collection, Dr Flavia Frigeri, the project focuses on researching the Gallery’s Collection with the aim of enhancing the visibility of select figures, as well as acquiring portraits of women not yet represented and commissioning new portraits of trailblazing contemporary women.  The project will increase the proportion of women artists and sitters on display at the Gallery in London when we re-open in 2023, following a major transformation, which includes a complete re-presentation of the entire Collection and a significant refurbishment of the building.

Reframing Narratives: Women in Portraiture will challenge traditional notions of women’s careers and how we think about women in relation to their male counterparts. Research will also explore the cultural, institutional, social, and political factors that shape difference, including class, race, gender and sexuality.

Please send enquiries related to the project to [email protected].

Dorothy Wilding  

Left to Right: Dorothy Wilding by Dorothy Wilding, 1930s © William Hustler and Georgina Hustler / National Portrait Gallery, LondonNoor; Inayat Khan by unknown photographer, 1937 © National Portrait Gallery, London; Georgina Masson by Horace Ové, 2002, © Horace Ové /National Portrait Gallery, London

London Walking Tours

Explore London and the pioneering women who lived and worked here on our walking tours. If you are not in London, enjoy the tour digitally by clicking through the stops!

See the tours

Film Series

Watch our series of films with contemporary, pioneering women as they reflect on the inspirational women within our Collection.

Learn more

Kindly supported by


Make a donation

Support our Make History appeal and help us transform the Gallery.

Help us make history

Online shop

A unique range of books, accessories and gifts. Every purchase supports the Gallery’s work.

Shop now

Bring a familiar face home

Refresh your home gallery with a huge selection of custom art prints .

Buy a print