Portraits by Contemporary Photographers
Past display archive
29 September 2012 - 7 July 2013
by Ben Toms
The National Portrait Gallery started collecting contemporary photographs in 1917, but it was not until 1968 that photographs were first displayed on the Gallery walls. The Gallery’s Photographs Collection now consists of around 250,000 portraits.
Every year the Gallery acquires around 300 photographs for the Collection, ranging from the nineteenth century to the present day. The works in room 39a reflect the broad selection of work by contemporary photographers that the Gallery has recently acquired, often through generous donation.
Photographs from 2011 include award-winning actors Damian Lewis by Spencer Murphy, David Morrissey by Jillian Edelstein and Maxine Peake by Jonathan Oakes. Musicians include nu-folk singer Laura Marling by Ben Toms, the composer Nitin Sawhney by Joss McKinley and singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran by Steve Schofield who also contributed his portrait of crime writer Martina Cole.
Four recently acquired environmental portraits by Denis Waugh originally taken in the 1980s and 1990s for the Observer series ‘A Room of My Own’ are featured. Born in New Zealand, Waugh was one of the first students of Photography at the Royal College of Art. The detailed portraits include conservators Martin Wyld and Jill Dunkerton with ‘The Incredulity of St Thomas' by Cima da Conegliano in the National Gallery’s conservation studio and Marianne Faithfull in her sparse West London flat.
Also shown at the Gallery for the first time is Alistair Morrison’s 2011 recreation of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Established leading British actors joined Morrison over a twenty-four hour period to build up the group portrait. Robert Powell, best known for the title role in Jesus of Nazareth (1977), portrays Christ.
© National Portrait Gallery, London
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Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.
- Graham Sutherland (NPG P1402)
- Philip Gould, Baron Gould of Brookwood (NPG P1697)
- Stephen Daldry (NPG P1778)
- Fiona Banner; Bob & Roberta Smith (Patrick Brill) (NPG P1775)
- Sir Anish Kapoor (NPG P1785)
- Marianne Faithfull (NPG x134837)
- Ian Jack (NPG x134847)
- Jill Dunkerton; Martin Wyld; Jock Hopson (NPG x134840)
- Lucinda Lambton; Sir Peregrine Worsthorne (NPG x134842)
- Amanda Vickery (NPG x136459)
- Maxine Peake (NPG x134940)
- Damian Lewis (NPG x135695)
- David Morrissey (NPG x135644)
- Laura Marling (NPG x135984)
- Ed Sheeran (NPG x135927)
- Martina Cole (NPG x135928)
- Nitin Sawhney (NPG x136460)
- Actors' Last Supper (NPG x136665)
- John Alderton
- Anthony Andrews
- Fiona Banner
- Steven Berkoff
- Bob & Roberta Smith (Patrick Brill)
- Simon Phillip Hugh Callow
- Martina Cole
- Tom Conti
- Stephen Daldry
- Jill Dunkerton
- Peter Eyre
- Sir Richard Charles Hastings Eyre
- Marianne Faithfull
- Colin Firth
- Sir Michael John Gambon
- Philip Gould, Baron Gould of Brookwood
- Jock Hopson
- Ian Jack
- Sir Anish Kapoor
- Lucinda Lambton
- Damian Lewis
- Laura Marling
- David Morrissey
- Maxine Peake
- Tim Pigott-Smith
- Robert Powell
- Nitin Sawhney
- Edward Christopher ('Ed') Sheeran
- Sir Antony Sher
- Graham Vivian Sutherland
- Amanda Vickery
- Dame Julie Walters
- Sir Peregrine Gerard Worsthorne
- Martin Wyld