21 January 2024

National Portrait Gallery

My friend M and I had nice day out at the National Portrait Gallery. 

The National Portrait Gallery is an art gallery in London that houses a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people. When it opened in 1856, it was arguably the first national public gallery in the world that was dedicated to portraits. In 1896 the gallery moved to its current site at St Martin's Place. 

We started with the Tudors

Queen Elizabeth I                  Mary Queen of Scots

We wondered how the women went to the toilet once they were fitted into these dresses. Apparantly they didn't wear knickers, and because those garments were so open a chamber pot was easily used. Or maybe they just peed where they stood! If you're interested in Tudor lavatorial stuff click here

Queen Elizabeth I

King Edward VI                           I think this is Sir Walter Raleigh

       Henry VIII                        This memorial portrait of Sir Henry Unton depicts his
                                         life, death and funeral shown in various scenes

I can't remember who this is but I love the dress

The House of Commons 1833. This panorama depicts the first session of the newly elected House of Commons after the Reform Act was passed in 1832. At the front are key figures from the House of Lords. The artist, George Hayter was unable to sell the huge painting, eventually he persuaded the government to buy it for the newly founded Gallery.

King George V, Princess Mary, Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor and Queen Mary. The portrait was painted just a few months before the outbreak of the First World War. The Queen and Mary appear reserved while the King is dressed in full military uniform signifying duty and service to the nation. Two decades later the young Prince Edward jeopardised the throne when, as King Edward VIII, he abdicated.

The Relief of Lucknow, 1857
This large painting celebrates Britain's suppression of a mass uprising that took place in India between 1857 and 1858. It imagines the end of a bloody battle in the northern city of Lucknow, with 29 British officers shown triumphantly at the centre and the Indian rebels in the shadows. 

Florence Nigtingale attending to the wounded.

By now we were ready for a sit down and a coffee and cake to re-charge our batteries to continue with the rest of the collections.

To be continued

∼ Be warm and well∼ 
Polly x 


  1. I'd love to visit it some day. So full of history!

  2. Love this place, just saying the portrait is George V, and after Edward VIII abdicated his brother who was Albert became George VI.

    1. Yes of course, when I was preparing the post I had it correct, then changed it when I published it but I still wastn't sure. I love history but have never been very good with the kings and queens!!

  3. I used to prefer the NPG to the National Gallery, because it felt smaller & more manageable! And often I would ask myself questions about the people. I've not been to either for many a long year though.

    1. I want to visit the National Gallery again, like you it's years since I last visited.

  4. People must have looked the same then so I wonder why their portraits often make them look strange.

    1. I know, we all have the same features. M and I commented on how different the Tudors looked, I guess much of it is how the artist portrayed them.

  5. We never made it to the National Portrait Gallery but will be back in May so perhaps this will go to the top of the list! Looking forward to more.


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