National Portrait Gallery National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

The London museum is home to the world's most extensive and impressive collection of portraits.

Telling the Story of Britain through Portraiture

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 with dual missions: to promote an appreciation for portraiture and for the influential British individuals depicted in the collection. Each year, millions of visitors admire portrayals of key figures spanning British culture and history, such as William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth II, and the Beatles. The collection of more than 11,000 portraits is vast and ranges in size from thumbnail to 17 feet wide.

In addition, the museum houses 250,000-plus photographs and negatives ranging from the 1840s to present day. Its Reference Collection includes more than 80,000 portraits. While most of those portraits are prints, the Reference Collection contains drawings, silhouettes, caricatures, paintings, miniatures, and medallions. The National Portrait Gallery also engages in extensive research, educational programming, and community outreach. 

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