National Portrait Gallery

Photo: Wikipedia
National Portrait Gallery map
Address:
National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin’s Place (just off Trafalgar Square)WC2H 0HE
Tel:
Work 0207 306 0055
Web:
npg.org.uk

Opening times and price

Opening hours:
10 AM to 6 PM (Sat-Wed); 10 AM to 9 PM (Thu-Fri); Last entry 15 mins before closing
Visiting hours are subject to change
Ticket cost:
Adults free entry
Time required:
A typical visit to National Portrait Gallery lasts 1½-2 hours (approx)

Getting to National Portrait Gallery

Taxis:
Find minicab firms near National Portrait Gallery
Buses:
3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 87, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176, 453
London bus fares
Trains:
Charing Cross BKL NRN, Covent Garden PCL, Embankment BKL CRC DSC NRN, Leicester Square NRN PCL, Piccadilly Circus BKL PCL
The nearest train station to National Portrait Gallery is Charing Cross
London underground fares

Craig’s London blog> Read Craig’s review of the National Portrait Gallery  Check out my London blog for a full review

National Portrait Gallery Easy to get to? Good for kids? Value for money? free Worth a visit? 203

 From National Portrait GalleryLondon

See all events at National Portrait Gallery

See all art exhibitions in London

 

The National Portrait Gallery opened in 1856 and moved to its present site near the National Gallery forty years later. All of the images are of Britons past and present – a history of England in pictures.

It is a rather peculiar gallery, in that the works are judged more by historical importance than artistic merit. The works are all about the status of the sitter, rather than the person painting the image. So its chief role is putting a face to the names that you read about in your history books.

The Tudor and Stuart Galleries

The galleries are arranged in chronological order, starting with a masterpiece. A huge portrait of Queen Elizabeth I strides across a map of Britain – storm clouds raging where the Spanish Armada sank into the sea.

A surfeit of monarchs follows, with studies of Henry VII, Henry VIII and James I.

The Henry VII piece is the oldest in the gallery – painted by an unknown artist in 1505.

The most important piece is probably the one of Henry VIII – painted by Hans Holbein in 1536.

Another intriguing piece is the Duke of Monmouth’s portrait. He was the illegitimate son of Charles II who rose up against his uncle – James II. When he was subsequently beheaded he was found to lack a picture, so an artist was quickly summoned while his head was still ‘fresh’, and knocked one out in 24-hours.

Authors at the National Portrait Gallery

If you’re after famous authors, then check out the Brontë Sisters. It was painted by their brother Branwell in 1834. After years of trying to make the grade in print, he died of drink, drugs and depression – you can even see where he painted himself out of the portrait.

There is also a controversial portrait of William Shakespeare – the Chandos portrait. This was the first piece to enter the collection – donated by Lord Ellesmere in 1856. Some people suggest that it isn’t him at all.

Other works include the only known likeness of Jane Austin (by her sister, Cassandra), and Samuel Pepys, William Wordsworth and George Bernard Shaw.

The photographic collection includes views of Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf and Lord Tennyson.

 
Awful 0% Poor 0% Okay 20% Good 40% Great 40%
  • pamHMRC – “I think I much prefer the national portrait gallery to the tate gallery. Probably because the meanings behind the paintings are easier to ascertain. My history isn't that great, but I can recognise some kings and queens and famous celebrities. But I am hard pressed to recognise what any painting in the tate gallry is supposed to be about, all I can do is admire their beauty. So the p[ictures in the portrait gallery have an extra little something that draws… more”

Events at National Portrait Gallery

  From National Portrait GalleryLondon

   to National Portrait GalleryLondon

   to National Portrait GalleryLondon

 
Copyright © 2017 London Drum · Contact us · Cookies / Privacy policy
London city guide