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

Audio

Brilliant Women exhibition banner

Conference| Publication

Exhibition: The Bluestocking circle| Celebrating Modern Muses| A Revolution in Female Manners

Audio

Hear readings from a selection of letters, poems and books written by or about the women who feature in the exhibition. Alternatively, please download the full textual transcript.

Download the entire Brilliant Women podcast in iTunes

Elizabeth Montagu (née Robinson)
by and published by John Raphael Smith, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
published 10 April 1776 (1775)
NPG D13746

Hear about the meetings of the Bluestocking Circle

Bluestocking Conversation Parties
- Click the link above to listen to the track
- To save the file to your hard disk, right-click (PC) or CTRL-Click (MAC) and choose "Save target as" from the menu

Hannah More
by Edward Scriven, published by Thomas Cadell the Younger, after Frances Reynolds
published 4 June 1838 (1780)
NPG D13788

Discover how women had to remain virtuous while being able to explore new possibilities for self improvement

Women, Virtue and Learning
- Click the link above to listen to the track
- To save the file to your hard disk, right-click (PC) or CTRL-Click (MAC) and choose "Save target as" from the menu

Hear about how intellectual and emotional friendship between women formed the foundation of bluestocking culture

Female Friendship
- Click the link above to listen to the track
- To save the file to your hard disk, right-click (PC) or CTRL-Click (MAC) and choose "Save target as" from the menu

Discover more about the Living Muses of Great Britain in print and in paint

The Living Muses of Great Britain
- Click the link above to listen to the track
- To save the file to your hard disk, right-click (PC) or CTRL-Click (MAC) and choose "Save target as" from the menu

An introduction to discover the eighteenth-century fashion for biographies of illustrious intellectual women

Celebrating Intellectual Women
- Click the link above to listen to the track
- To save the file to your hard disk, right-click (PC) or CTRL-Click (MAC) and choose "Save target as" from the menu

Mary Wollstonecraft
by John Chapman, after Unknown artist
published 1798
NPG D7842

Hear about the changing attitudes to intellectual women and the demise of the bluestockings

Revolution, Representation and Reputation
- Click the link above to listen to the track
- To save the file to your hard disk, right-click (PC) or CTRL-Click (MAC) and choose "Save target as" from the menu

Watch

Our channel

View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.

Sit back and watch

Artist and sitter interviews

Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.

Explore behind the scenes

Sleeping Awake

Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.

Hear our story