National Portrait Gallery located on St. Martin’s Place in central London is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. It is located in Trafalgar Square and adjoins the National Gallery. The exhibitions at National Portrait Gallery London include a vast array of sculptures, paintings, and busts with around 10,000 portraits in the entire collection. If you plan to visit National Portrait Gallery London, you will get a unique glimpse of some of the most famous figures in the history of the British Commonwealth.
The National Portrait Gallery was the first gallery of its kind when it opened its doors in 1856. The gallery did not move to its present location on St. Martin’s Place until 1896. The gallery was established by Philip Henry Stanhope, Earl Stanhope, and Thomas Babington Macaulay, along with a few of their contemporaries, as a means to exhibit portraits of historically significant as well as famous British individuals. The tickets to the gallery go fast. They are not at all expensive given the wide range of portraits and the engaging exhibitions at National Portrait Gallery London. Some of the works are far better than others, but all of them maintain a consistent quality. It is not about the fame or notoriety of the artist, but rather the celebrity of the person in the portrait at this particular gallery. For this reason, flocks of people visit National Portrait Gallery London every year to see their favorite figures from the worlds of politics, literature, sports, entertainment, and history.
One of the most exciting and popular exhibits in the recent past has spotlighted the role of the leading pop icons of the 1960s and how they influenced British culture as a whole. With over 150 photographs, tons of memorabilia, and other media, the National Portrait Gallery took visitors on a ride through the swinging 60s to recapture the prevailing excitement of the day when the pop charts were dominated by the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and the Kinks. It is this ability to feature not only portraits of royalty, dignitaries, and historical figures, but also relevant individuals in terms of pop society, that is one reason that the National Portrait Gallery stays as viable and popular as it in fact does.
Perhaps the most notable portrait you should plan to see when you visit National Portrait Gallery London is the Chandos Portrait, the most widely recognized and popular portrait of William Shakespeare, although there is some disputing the legitimacy of whether or not the portrait was originally done for the author. Despite much speculation, it is widely accepted that it is in fact a portrait of William Shakespeare himself. It was given to the National Portrait Gallery upon its opening in 1856. It is listed as number one amongst the thousands of portraits in the gallery as it was the very first the collection could claim to be its own. If you’re planning a trip to the city consider stopping by to see the exhibitions at National Portrait Gallery London. There are enough famous faces housed in this building to keep you curious and engaged for hours.
Image: VisitLondonImages/Damir Fabijanic