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Everyday Icons: Collecting Popular Portraits

Everyday Icons: Collecting Popular Portraits

Everyday Icons: Collecting Popular Portraits

Past display archive
7 September 2019 - 1 March 2020

Room 16, Floor 2


Unknown man ('carved wooden roof boss')
by Unknown artist
15th century
NPG D48634

Portraits are around us everywhere, all the time. This display focuses on ‘Popular Portraits’ – representations of named individuals or identifiable characters that would have been owned or seen by a wide cross-section of society. ‘Popular Portraits’ have been part of everyday life from the Anglo-Saxons to the present day, spanning political caricatures to Barbie dolls modelled on royalty and the peoples’ heroes.

The ‘Popular Portrait’ is a new area of collecting for the National Portrait Gallery and includes acquisitions made with the support of an Art Fund New Collecting Award.


We are looking for you to share your very own popular portraits.

Are there local heroes you’ve seen commemorated in a mural or everyday object? Does your local have a pub sign depicting a famous face? Or perhaps there are objects in your own home that depict local and national heroes?

If so, we want to hear from you! Enter via Instagram to be in with a chance of winning a popular portrait-inspired prize.

Competition closes 21 February. Terms and conditions apply, please see below for details.

How to enter

Follow @nationalportraitgallery on Instagram. If you do not already have an Instagram account, you will need to download the app to your smartphone or tablet and register for free.

You can take your photo portrait using a camera, phone or tablet. Filters and other effects may be applied, but are not essential.

Caption the photograph with a title, your full name and post to Instagram with #NPGPopularPortraits.

Please note: if your Instagram account is private, we will not be able access your entry.

The deadline for submissions is 23.59 on Friday 21 February 2019.

Terms and Conditions

The National Portrait Gallery is offering a Popular Portrait inspired prize to one lucky winner.

The competition is subject to the terms and conditions below:

  1. The promoters of this competition are the Marketing Department of the National Portrait Gallery, London, St Martin's Place, London
  2. All entries can be taken using either a camera, smartphone or tablet.
  3. The competition is limited to 5 entries per person.
  4. Images must be produced in response to our current display Everyday Icons: Collecting Popular Portraits and must be identifiable as portraits.
  5. By submitting your work, you confirm that your contribution is your own original work, is not defamatory and does not infringe any UK laws and that you have the consent of a parent / guardian for anyone under eighteen who is identifiable in your contribution. Proof of consent for anyone under the age of eighteen will need to be supplied by all shortlisted photographers.
    Download the consent form
  6. By entering the competition, you confirm that the National Portrait Gallery may reproduce images for the purposes of marketing and promotion, including use on the Gallery website and social media sites.
  7. All entries must be submitted by 23.59 on Friday 21 February 2020. Entries received after this time will not be eligible for consideration.
  8. Entrants must be aged 18 and over
  9. Winners will be contacted on 24 February. The winner will be contacted via social media and prompted to contact [email protected] to claim their prize. The winner must confirm acceptance in writing of the prize and these terms and conditions within 7 days of being contacted by the National Portrait Gallery. An alternative winner may be selected up to 2 times.
  10. No cash alternative.
  11. The Gallery reserves the right to substitute the prize with one of similar value at its own discretion.
  12. The Gallery also reserves the right to withdraw or amend the competition as necessary due to circumstances outside its control.
  13. Employees of the National Portrait Gallery their families, agents or anyone else connected with the competition are not permitted to enter.
  14. The UK laws apply to this promotion to the exclusion of any other law.