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

Facing Blindness: Visual Impairment in the Nineteenth Century

Past display archive
18 November 2013 - 13 July 2014

Room 24: case display

Free

James Holman
by Maull & Polyblank
circa 1855
NPG P106(11)

This display explores portraiture of prominent blind and visually-impaired people in the nineteenth century, active in the world of art, education, travel and politics, with a special focus on James Holman (1786-1857) and Henry Fawcett (1833-84). Highlighting their remarkable biographies, the display highlights how these sitters resisted limiting stereotypes to portray a positive and enabling image of blindness.

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Listen

Pioneer Podcasts

Listen to a series of podcasts exploring the lives of pioneering women, past and present.

Explore the podcasts

Untitled, c.1973 (Alex Chilton) by William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust

Eggleston Playlist

William Eggleston was closely associated with the alternative music scene in Memphis. Revisit our 2016 exhibition and listen to a special playlist.

Listen to the playlist

Archive interviews

Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.

Watch, listen and read