Before selfies there were portraits. The world’s largest collection resides in the National Portrait Gallery, created in 1856 to house portraits of historically significant British people. While self-portraits by artists William Hogarth and Sir Joshua Reynolds meld artistry and content, many works are of interest mainly for provenance, such as the painting of sisters Charlotte, Anne and Emily Brontë by brother Branwell. As expected, royals rule in sheer numbers, led by Queen Elizabeth II (909 portraits), Queen Victoria (520) and King Henry VIII (94—in pre-photography days). Also getting their due are rock royalty (John Lennon with 59 portraits), fashion royalty (Twiggy with 30) and sports royalty (David Beckham with five).
I visited the National Portrait Gallery because they had a Caravaggio exhibition. It was such a pleasant surprise to find out that exhibition aside, the Gallery had a very extensive, well curated and very very beautiful collection. I joined the free docent tour in the afternoon and was touched by the sheer passion she had with the paintings. Her explanations made the world of paintings come alive! I loved how there were cross relations between certain paintings. Easter eggs existed even in centuries past! Well worth a visit. Bravo!
Regardless of whatever exhibition is going on in The National Portrait Gallery. It's a great place to visit when you are nearby. A lot of rooms to walk into for free, and the art on display is simply beautiful.
Remember all those paintings for Monarchs you saw in all your history textbooks in school? Henry VIII, Elizabeth I etc.? It never occurred to me that those paintings still existed. Well they do and guess what? A significant number of them are still here. I'll need to return here and devote a whole day to just this place. Definitely worth visiting.
I'm very impressed by the extensive collections of the museum. It is also a perfect place to learn history of England and to see all the important faces .Have a good look at portraits of Kings and Queens as well as William Shakespeare and Jane Austin!They are all so real!
Light and airey. Not over crowded. Good range of paintings