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The National Portrait Gallery


The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 with the aim to promote an appreciation and understanding of men and women through portraits. The gallery holds the largest collection of portraits in the world, however, the entire collection is not actually displayed in the London gallery. The collection is exhibited across a number of locations all around the UK, including a number of prestigious houses managed by the National Trust. Much like the National Portrait Gallery on St Martin’s Place, each location provides a special and historic backdrop, perfectly suited to host each collection.

External_no_banners1 (c) National Portrait Gallery, London

Until one visits the National Portrait gallery, one could be forgiven into thinking that viewing a whole heap of portraits of men and women, may become a little tedious after a while. It is not until you wander along the vast hallways and stare into the eyes of the subjects, or become enchanted by the artistry, that you realise how incredibly insightful each individual portrait is. The cultural and historic representation is an extraordinary testament to the evolution of humankind. To observe changes in technique across all artistic mediums is an absolute treat.

NPG Main Entrance Generic Banners_final copy

At any one time in the London gallery there are usually around 1400 portraits on show. In total, across all locations, the gallery owns approximately 200,000 portraits. It is interesting to note here that the identities of some of the artists are still unknown. The Gallery Research facility is committed to uncovering these identities. This is exciting in itself, in that the history of art still has so much more to reveal.

The National Portrait Gallery has a wonderful and vibrant restaurant, with great food. The bookshop stocks fabulous books and as for the souvenir shop, SEEN was tempted by some fabulous Dali-style earrings. Presents to take home for sure.

National Portrait Gallery
St Martin’s Place

Seen this week

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

Oh to be at Camino Bankside Now that Summer is Here

With temperatures set to soar as though it was 1976 (SEEN remembers sweltering through that), your best bet is to get anywhere by the river Thames, where the views are gobsmacking, and the food is fabulous. Like last year, London is awash with marvellous gins – and let’s remind ourselves, if you drink gin you are partaking in a resonant and historical pastime that is inextricably linked to London’s rich, vibrant and – dare we say it – dark past.

Categories ArtPosted on

Kieren Hughes: Urban Dreamscape

SEEN was instantly captivated by the work of the Cheltenham-born artist Kieren Hughes recently. His unsettling images seem born of modern-day anxieties about urban living, as in Chicago Fever Dream or the privileges accrued by a rich elite, as in The Last Privilege of an Oil Man.