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|
St Martin's Place
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed, Sat, Sun 10am-6pm; Thu, Fri 10am-9pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Charing Cross|
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Late Shift at the National Portrait Gallery
Catch a slice of midweek culture at these late night openings. Every Thursday and Friday the gallery stays open until 9pm meaning you can take part in drawing classes, talks and discussions after work. Guests can also enjoy live music, DJs, films, performances...Until Friday December 21 2018 Free
Things to do
1000 Londoners: Windrush Generations
Discover the stories of Caribbean Londoners in the post-Windrush era. In a brand new series of 1000 Londoners short documentaries, delve into the lives of Londoners with Caribbean heritage, across four generations, including the stories of Dame Jocelyn...Film events Until Saturday November 17 2018
Gainsborough's Family Album
One of the nation's most famous painters, Thomas Gainsborough made a career from depicting the rolling countryside and the rollicking aristocracy (often pictured surrounded by greenery). The National Portrait Gallery has got its hands on the artist's...Thursday November 22 2018 - Sunday February 3 2019
Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver
Get ruff and ready with the National Portrait Gallery when it exhibits an exquisite collection of miniatures from the Tudor and Jacobean eras. The super-detailed artworks by Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver take gallery-goers back to a time when owning...Thursday February 21 2019 - Sunday May 19 2019
Only Human: Photographs by Martin Parr
Iconic photographer Martin Parr has made capturing the human being in its natural habitat his life's work. This major new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery brings together the photographer's megahit works with some of his newest snaps, including...Thursday March 7 2019 - Sunday May 19 2019
Average User Rating
4.7 / 5
- 5 star:17
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:0
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London's best kept secret. It's not packed out with eminent Victorians (though it does have a few). You're greeted by photographs and paintings of people in the news today. There's even a video of David Beckham sleeping! I love the annual portrait and photographic competitions. Never agree with the judges but always find things that I love
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.
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