National Portrait Gallery, London

National Portrait Gallery, London

Reopened in 2023 after a substantial redevelopment, the National Portrait Gallery boasts an impressive collection of over 220,000 works, ranking among the world's most extensive assemblages of portraits. It serves as a visual narrative, chronicling the history of Britain since the 16th century, providing tangible faces to the historical figures familiar from textbooks. Founded in 1856, the gallery's first acquisition was the renowned portrayal of William Shakespeare, famously known as the "Chandos portrait", which still graces its walls. The gallery houses a vast array of other portraits, encompassing kings, queens, musicians, artists, and intellectuals from every epoch since the time of Henry VII.

The extensive refurbishment, valued in the tens of millions, has revitalized the Victorian structure, introducing a new visitor entrance named Ross Place and an airy forecourt on its northern façade. The entire collection has been thoughtfully reorganized, bringing to the forefront lesser-known individuals and narratives from British history while incorporating more pieces from the gallery's expansive photographic archive.

The primary collection is organized chronologically, beginning with the Tudor and Stuart Galleries on the 2nd floor and descending to contemporary portraits found on the ground floor and in the newly unveiled Weston Wing. Additionally, the gallery hosts special exhibitions, which may require an admission fee.

***JANE AUSTEN WALK***

A leisurely visit to the National Portrait Gallery in London offers a unique opportunity to connect with the world of Jane Austen and her illustrious contemporaries. Among the captivating portraits adorning its walls, you'll discover a particularly intimate treasure: Jane Austen's own visage, thoughtfully sketched by her sister Cassandra. As you wander through the gallery's hallowed halls, you'll immerse yourself in the visual tapestry of Austen's era, surrounded by portraits of her notable peers.

Why You Should Visit:
An exceptional assortment of portraits, where royalty, celebrities, and the common folk are represented on canvas. No other museum in London feels so purely English.

Tip:
Make sure to secure a reservation in advance if you wish to dine at the fantastic restaurant atop the building, which offers breathtaking views, as it tends to be fully booked.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in London. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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National Portrait Gallery on Map

Sight Name: National Portrait Gallery
Sight Location: London, England (See walking tours in London)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in London, England

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