The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery is ‘to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, and to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media.
The Gallery presents exhibitions throughout the year.
Opening hours are Saturday to Wednesday, 10.00-18.00 and Thursday to Friday 10.00-21.00. The main collection is free but there is a charge with concessions for exhibitions.
1 Review on “National Portrait Gallery”
For those interested in the history of this country and the people who contributed to it, this is the gallery for you. Nearly a quarter of a million portraits of people from the 16th century to the modern day record a wonderful story. The collection is divided into specialist subjects, from artists and politicians to scientists and writers, enabling the visitor to see a panorama of development and change in any field of interest. Royal history is well covered from the Tudors onwards. There is also a section of portraits of the living or those only recently dead who are or have been in the public eye in many walks of life. There is usually a major sizeable exhibition about one person (currently Picasso, concentrating on his portraits) and also often a smaller one on someone about whom perhaps less is known or may be considered of less general interest. In addition, smaller rooms have displays lasting a few months discussing one person or topic in more detail (eg the Brontës). These are fascinating and much can be learnt from them.
When the visitor wants to sit down or find refreshment, there is a pleasant, reasonably priced (recently expanded ) café in the basement serving light refreshments. For those requiring more, the Portrait Gallery at the top of the building is expensive but provides good food and views of London.
Sadly, to allow the café to be enlarged, the book shop in the basement has moved to a sort of mezzanine floor and is more difficult of access. The gallery shop is well stocked including artefacts relating to the current exhibition.