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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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
BP Portrait Award 2019
The National Portrait Gallery's annual exhibition of the best contemporary artists making the age-old art of portraiture their own. 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the prestigious competition which is open to anyone aged 18 and over.Thursday June 13 2019 - Sunday October 20 2019
Long before 'selfie-culture' became a thing, Cindy Sherman was already experimenting with creating an endless collection of photos of herself in different outfits, identities and settings. This major retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery demonstrates...Thursday June 27 2019 - Sunday September 15 2019
Kurt Cobain, Liam Gallagher, Frida Kahlo, Napoleon, Queen Elizabeth II, David Bowie and many others all feature in the artworks of Elizabeth Peyton. The artist, who is famous for her small-scale portraits, gets a solo show at the National Portrait Gallery....Thursday October 3 2019 - Sunday January 5 2020
If you're searching for a clue to how much women feature in the traditional narrative of Victorian art, look no further than the Pre-Raphaelites, a group of artists who literally self-identified as a 'brotherhood'. This major exhibition at the National...Thursday October 17 2019 - Sunday January 26 2020
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I cannot believe I have been in London for over 4 years and never been to the National Portrait Gallery! I am glad my friend took me on a Sunday afternoon, for a quick visit. I like museums that are small and where you can chose the period you want to focus on, so it was perfect. We actually ended up seeing everything, as you can do it in one hour. I liked the Tudors and Elizabethan ones, as it's always interesting to imagine the artists making these paintings many centuries ago. One of the most impressive portrait is the very famous one of Queen Elizabeth I. There are also a lot of recent portraits, like Dame Judi Dench or Princess Catherine. Lovely museum, not to be missed!
I love the central location of the National Portrait Gallery, the sweeping staircases and the very thoughtful manner they have been able to meet old and new both in regard to content but also the building itself. It's seemless. Everything has been thought of and there is something here to capture everybody's imagination and interest, no matter what your age.
I like I can take it in stages to come and go to my hearts content, previously I discoversed portrait's of the royal family through the ages and pime ministers.
I enjoy the variety but also find it just as interesting watching the reaction to the people who are looking at the art as much as the art itself. Wonderfully absorbing place, go soak it up.
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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