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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.

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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