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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Making History: Printed Portraiture in Tudor and Stuart Britain

Thomas Cavendish
by Jodocus Hondius
circa 1590-1592
NPG 6677

Past display archive
7 July - 9 December 2007

Room 16

Free

Before the age of photography, portrait engravings published as book illustrations created a market for images of celebrated individuals. This display features some of the earliest of the Gallery's portrait prints produced in England and examines how they tell a visual history. It will explore how naval heroes such as Francis Drake and traitors such as the gunpowder plotters became national figures.

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