Gallery Stories

The Gallery’s archives reveal a number of fascinating stories about the impact of the War, including the steps taken to protect the Collection, the staff members that were involved with the fighting, and the perceived threat of militant Suffragette action.


Conscription and Rehabilitation

How Gallery staff were involved with the conflict


How the Collection was protected during the War.

Private Lord Crawford

The military career of the Vice Chairman of the Gallery's Board of Trustees.


A Gallery Occupied

Discover what happened when the Gallery was turned over to the War Office.

Suffragette Action

‘What will you do if they smash something at the National Portrait Gallery?’

Letters from the Front

New discoveries reveal personal war stories
The Gallery’s archive is not an obvious source of personal stories associated with the Great War, yet letters recently discovered within it connect wartime Director James Milner with two serving Army officers. Milner had a lengthy career at the Gallery. Just 19 when he joined in 1893 as a Clerk, he eventually became Director (August 1916-August 1927). The archive showed little evidence of his private life until three wartime letters written to him surfaced, presenting him as a friend and a brother. Researching the letter writers also brought into focus two young officers with very different fates. Read on to learn more about these men and their connections to James Milner: