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

From Pencil to Chisel: Sir Francis Chantrey’s Portrait Drawings

Past display archive
2 April - 20 November 2011

Room 16


Sir John Soane
by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey
circa 1827
NPG 316a(111)

The most successful portrait sculptor in the early-nineteenth century, Chantrey’s sitters included three monarchs and leading scientists and architects. This display focuses on a selection of Chantrey’s drawings made using a ‘camera lucida’, a light projecting device used for improved accuracy in delineating features and proportions. These simple ‘mug shot’ (full face and profile) drawings, apparently free from artistry and flattery, are remarkable for their immediacy.

© National Portrait Gallery, London