Visiting the National Portrait Gallery in London

Walking Tours Of London

Art Museums In London

London hosts some of the world’s best museums specializing in art to war history. Located in and around the city, visiting these museums is indeed a great way to learn more about art, history, and ethnicity of the city. Most of these museums are included in several guided walking tours of London. The National Portrait Gallery is one such unique museum in London that holds the largest collection of historic portraits in the world.

The countless portraits displayed here give visitors a glimpse into the key personalities that influenced and shaped the history of Britain. These portraits include those of the notable kings, rulers, musicians, poets, as well as infamous personalities. The National Portrait Gallery is a remarkable museum that will surely delight visitors who are interested in art and history. It is located near the National Gallery, to the north of Trafalgar Square in Westminster.

About the National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery was opened in 1856 under a parliament act. It was established with the support of the then director of British Museum, Earl of Stanhope. Initially, the museum was housed in different locations and finally was included in the current building in 1895. The museum was intended to act as a cultural center that displayed the portraits of British heroes for fostering nationalism and inspiration among the people.

The museum currently houses a collection of about 160,000 portraits from the 16th Century to the present times. Eleven thousand of these are included in the primary collection and permanently reside inside the museum. The rest four thousand collections are displayed in many locations in London. The portrait of King Henry VII from 1505 is one of the oldest collections residing in the gallery.

In addition, the National Portrait Gallery has given importance to update its collections by commissioning about six new portraits each year of eminent personalities. This is done to uphold and preserve the importance of art and consists of photographs, paintings, sculptures, mixed media works, etc. The portraits created during the last few decades are displayed in the contemporary collection of the museum.

The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm. On Thursdays and Fridays, the National Portrait Gallery remains open until 09:00 pm. There is no entry fee to visit the portrait gallery. It, therefore, provides an excellent opportunity for the visitors on walking tours of London to acquaint with the history of the country. Yet note that the National Portrait Gallery also holds many temporary exhibits and visiting them might requires a fee.