National Portrait Gallery

The Collection


National Portrait Gallery: The Collection introduces the key people who have shaped the history of Britain, its culture and identity, by exploring essential highlights from the National Portrait Gallery’s unrivalled Collection.


ISBN: 9781855145733 Category:


National Portrait Gallery: The Collection is published to celebrate the reopening of the Gallery after a three-year redevelopment project. Designed by Daniela Rocha, this engaging and inviting book takes the reader on a chronological journey through Britain’s history in portraiture, from the Tudors to Now, featuring the country’s most impactful and famous individuals, from Queen Elizabeth I to Mary Seacole, and Virginia Woolf to David Bowie. The book is richly illustrated with beautiful paintings, photographs, sculptures, drawings and digital works.

Readers will enjoy a selection of the most popular and recognisable portraits from the Collection, accompanied by short chapter introductions that introduce key historical periods, their most exciting figures, and their most important historical, political, social and cultural moments. This accessible structure allows the reader to dip into any of the beautiful portraits and their stories, and understand their place in British history.

An Introduction by Director Dr. Nicholas Cullinan will highlight why portraiture has been fundamental to people and society historically, but also to contemporary audiences, by exploring themes of culture, identity and the representation of diversity. This will also introduce readers to the nation’s newly-reopened National Portrait Gallery, explaining how it came to be the nation’s home of portraits and the world’s most significant Collection of people.

Additional information

Weight 470 g
Dimensions 19.1 x 21.8 cm
Publisher name National Portrait Gallery Publications
Publication date 20 July 2023
Number of pages 112
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Edited by Rab MacGibbon, Introduction by Nicholas Cullinan
Dimensions 19.1 x 21.8 cm
Weight 470 g


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Rab MacGibbon is Cross-Collections Curator at the National Portrait Gallery, London. He is the author of Icons and Identities (2021), and a contributor to Love Stories: Art, Passion & Tragedy (2020), Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures from Hilliard to Oliver (2019) and The Lost Prince: The Life & Death of Henry Stuart (2012).

Dr Nicholas Cullinan is Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London.