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

Out of the Shadows: Portraits by the Douglas Brothers

Out of the Shadows: Portraits by the Douglas Brothers

Out of the Shadows: Portraits by the Douglas Brothers

Past display archive
9 August 2017 - 28 January 2018

Room 32, Floor 1


Daniel Day-Lewis by The Douglas Brothers, platinum print, 1989, NPG P1998 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Daniel Day-Lewis
by The Douglas Brothers
platinum print, 1989
NPG P1998
© The Douglas Brothers

The late 1980s saw a new generation of young musicians, actors and novelists receiving critical acclaim for their work. This display presents portraits of these now celebrated cultural figures. A young Damon Albarn is photographed the year before the release of Blur’s debut album Leisure; Kazuo Ishiguro is pictured in the year his novel The Remains of the Day won the Booker Prize for Fiction.

These evocative photographic portraits were taken by the duo Andrew (b.1952) and Stuart Douglas (b.1962). The brothers began collaborating in 1986, producing innovative photographs that drew on historical photographic processes. Using a large format camera and long exposures in low light conditions, the Douglas Brothers produced expressive, psychologically charged portraits. Sitters emerge from dark interiors in images that celebrate the nuances of shadow. Rather than prioritising clarity and description, their portraits evoke mood and atmosphere.

Photographs Collection: Display

Do, draw and make!

Do, draw and make!

From building dens to food faces – enjoy our Playful Portraits activities and find out about some brilliant people!

Get Creative

Healthcare Heroes

Activities for children and families inspired by three healthcare heroes from our Collection.

Learn together

Learning resources

Downloadable and web based resources to support learning at home linked to art, history, citizenship and literacy.

Get learning