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.

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Archive and Photographs Collection

In 1999 the National Portrait Gallery purchased the complete surviving Ida Kar Archive, which comprises eight hundred photographic prints, ten thousand negatives, four hundred vintage contact prints, exhibition catalogues, correspondence, press cuttings and the ownership of Ida Kar’s copyright.

Ida Kar’s oeuvre is remarkable both for its aesthetic accomplishment and as a social commentary of cultural life in mid-twentieth-century Europe. With this exhibition and publication the National Portrait Gallery continues its tradition of reappraising women photographers such as Olive Edis, Madame Yevonde and Dorothy Wilding.

To see work by these photographers in the National Portrait Gallery Collection and over 1000 works by Ida Kar now catalogued see

For an introduction to the Photographs Collection of which the Ida Kar archive forms part, please see the collections page