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

150 Years: The National Portrait Gallery

Sir George Scharf
by Walter William Ouless
1885
NPG 985

From 11 February 2006
Room 36

Focusing on key moments in the National Portrait Gallery's past, this illustrated timeline charts the development of the Gallery throughout the 150 years of its history. It identifies significant characters, episodes, incidents and 'firsts' that were important at the time but also had a lasting effect, laying the foundations for, and shaping, the Gallery we know today.

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.

Visit now

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