An impressively preserved, ornate structure built in the 1850s, National Portrait Gallery contains a collection of portraits painted of significant and famous British people. Perhaps the most notable portrait in the gallery is one of William Shakespeare, but there are approximately 10,000 others to view and consider. National Portrait Gallery is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our custom trip planner, London Edition.
Tours to National Portrait Gallery
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Duration: 60 to 120 minutes
National Portrait Gallery Reviews
I visited the BP Portraits Exhibition - I love it because it is small, not overwhelming and always, always has special and unusual paintings to admire. I make this an annual pilgrimage and have never ... more »
A hidden gem overlooking the rooftops of Trafalgar Square towards Parliament. Light and airy with stunning views. The food was excellent - particularly the calve's liver which was cooked to perfection... more »
Imagine yourself in Tudor England having just been asked to paint a portrait of your monarch. A monarch who believes they have the face and figure of a Greek god, but who actually has the face and figure of a pickled goat’s head stapled to some bagpipes. You have a burnt stick, some dry mud, and an egg. If you’re up to date with the latest art technology, you may also have a bag of seeds. And if you get this wrong, it won’t be your painting that gets hung. Fortunately some Tudor artists not only got it right, but their work has survived for 500 years and is now on display here, alongside many of Britain’s most famous faces. It’s impossible not to be impressed. In some areas it does feel more like a catalogue of noteworthy chaps rather than a collection of art, but the best sections more than make up for that. I personally like the half-finished, not-very-good, only-one-we-could-find, type of portrait. It makes a refreshing change from some of the formally posed, hand on a book, portraits. The only portrait I have of myself was done in purple crayon on crumpled paper, and is basically a picture of two smiling potatoes and some twigs. I think I’m the potato on the left. Maybe it would help if there were one or two smiling potatoes amongst the Victorian Statesmen.
I think this is my favourite gallery so far in London. Just because they had a very detailed exhibition on Tudor dynasty which I’m always interested in. It is a small gallery and full of historical paintings and modern pictures, but it has a different vibe from those big museums. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re into British monarchy history, and portrait things of course, like photography. I even bought a book after it because I was so enjoyed.
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