National Portrait Gallery :: Visitors' Map of London :: A-Z Maps

National Portrait Gallery

Exhibits the National collection of painted and photographic portraits of famous British men and women dating mainly from the Tudor dynasty to the twentieth century. Special exhibitions of painted and photographic portraiture throughout the year.

The purpose of this gallery being to illustrate British history by focussing on historically significant characters, its paintings - though many are 'great works of art' are not selected for that reason. The portraits are in chronological order; coins and early copies represent the pre-Tudor monarchs, leading up to the unrivalled collection of 16th century works commissioned by Tudor and Elizabethan sovereigns, their advisors and courtiers. When the 18th century is reached the display divides into two parallel series: one shows rulers, statesmen and men of action; the other great names in art and science. As a general rule - with the exception of Royalty - portraits are not hung within the sitters' life-time.

Free, but admission charged for special exhibitions.

See Also: National Gallery

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