Portraits don't have to be stuffy. The National Portrait Gallery has everything from oil paintings of stiff-backed royals to photos of soccer stars and gloriously unflattering political caricatures. The portraits of musicians, scientists, artists, philanthropists and celebrities are arranged in chronological order from the top to the bottom of the building. At the top of the escalator up from the main foyer are the earliest works, portraits of Tudor and Stuart royals and notables. On the same floor, the eighteenth-century collection features Georgian writers and artists, with one room devoted to the influential Kit-Cat Club of Whig (leftish) intellectuals, Congreve and Dryden among them. More famous names here include Wren and Swift. The Duveen Extension contains Regency greats, military men such as Wellington and Nelson, as well as Byron, Wordsworth and other Romantics. The first floor is devoted to the Victorians (Dickens, Brunel, Darwin) and, in the Duveen Extension, the twentieth century. One of the NPG's most popular highlights is the annual BP Portrait Award where the best entrants for the prestigious prize are exhibited.
|Venue name:||National Portrait Gallery||Contact:|
St Martin's Place
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed, Sat, Sun 10am-6pm; Thu, Fri 10am-9pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Charing Cross|
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Black Chronicles: Photographic Portraits 1862-1948
The 40 photographs on display in these exhibiton will offer a snapshot into the lives of Black Britons in the nineteenth and twentieth century – from the days of imperial expansion to the arrival of the HMS Windrush in 1948.Until Sunday December 11 2016 FreeRead more
BP Portrait Award 2016
Portraits selected from 2,557 entries by artists from 80 countries around the world, covering all bases, from parents to poseurs, figurative nudes to famous faces and expressive sketches to piercing photo-realism.Painting Until Sunday September 4 2016Read more
Ben Romans Hopcraft
The Tulse Hill-born singer and songwriter from Rough Trade-signed dreampop band, Childhood, performs.Pop Friday July 1 2016Read more
John Martin Quintet: The Hidden Notes
The jazz saxophonist explores the polyphonic possibilities of the saxophone in tonal music with his quintet.Jazz Sunday July 3 2016 - Wednesday August 3 2016Read more
The BRIT School
Experimental responses to the BP Portrait Award 2016 exhibition.Friday July 8 2016Read more
The Bookshop Band
This acoustic duo from London write book-themed songs and make a habit of playing in bookshops.Rock and indie Friday July 15 2016Read more
William Eggleston Portraits
William Eggleston, the man widely considered the godfather of colour photography, is a geniune art world legend and as cool as many of the people he's shot over the years. Joe Strummer and Dennis Hopper are among the names that feature in this retrospective...Photography Thursday July 21 2016 - Sunday October 23 2016Read more
The DJ is on hand to supply the room with disco, funk, house and techno.House, disco and techno Thursday July 21 2016Read more
Joo Yeon Sir
The Korean-born British violinist presents an evening of solo violin repertoire.Classical and opera Friday July 22 2016Read more
John Martin’s Hidden Notes
The jazz saxophonist explores the polyphonic possibilities of the saxophone in tonal music with his quintet.Jazz Friday July 29 2016Read more
Average User Rating
4.7 / 5
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I adore the permanent collection here, and especially the 20th/21st century collection - it's like stepping into an edition of Hello curated by intellectuals and created by the best artists around.
I went after work on a late night Thursday opening - there was a live progressive house DJ which reverberated around the 19 century galleries - I had a skip in my walk! I really loved the Tudor section because of the infamous King Henry 8th and his many wife's - I felt that I intimately got acquainted with them all. It was also fascinating to see and learn more about the various different 19 / 20th century scientists, traders, explorers and romantics - all people that shaped the western world we live in today. I will be visiting again as two hours was not enough!
One of my favorite places in London. The National Portrait Gallery is a must see for all art lovers.
I particularly enjoy the BP Portrait Competition. Some of the best contemporary painters take part and the quality of the work submitted is superb!
A must on any trip to London, the National Portrait Gallery houses an incredible collection of portraits. Every time I visit I find something new and intriguing amongst the thousands of paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs of subjects from Anne Boleyn to Rio Ferdinand. It is free to enter but I would definitely the café as the food is excellent and great value for the city centre.