The National Portrait Gallery of London is one of the most famous art galleries. Portraits of some famous British personalities and historically important people are a part of this galleries’ collection. On its launch in 1856, it became the first-ever national portrait gallery of the world. The current location of this national portrait gallery is at St. Martins Place. Since its launch in 1856, it has twice expanded in size. The national portrait gallery has got many branches throughout England and is not a part of any government department. The department of Sport, Culture, and Media are the primary sponsors of this gallery.
The History Of National Portrait Gallery
Philip Henry Stanhope, Thomas Babington Macaulay, and Thomas Carlyle are the founders of the National Portrait Gallery. In 1846, Stanhope had proposed the idea of the gallery when he was the Member of Parliament. His proposal was ultimately accepted in 1856 by the House of Lords. The House of Commons set aside an amount of 2000 British Pounds on the approval of Queen Victoria to establish this gallery. Chandos portrait, the first portrait of the gallery was donated by Lord Ellesmere who was also the founder trustee. During the Second World War, the collections of the gallery were kept at Mentmore Towers.
The entrance of the gallery has the bust of its three founders while the exterior has block busts of stone of famous artists.
The Make Over
The Heritage Lottery fund grant of 12 million and Sir Christopher were the main pillar of the second extension of the Portrait Gallery. Edward Jones and Jeremy Dixon were the two brains behind this master architecture. The gallery got its single largest donation in January 2008 of 5 million from Randy Lerner the chairman of Aston Villa. The Portrait Gallery became the official patronage of the Duchess of Cambridge in January 2012.
The Portrait Gallery has many portraits that have historical importance. It also has portraits of famous British people. Photographs, paintings, drawings, and sculptures are the main collections of this gallery. Chandos portrait which is a portrait of William Shakespeare is one of the well-known collections of this gallery. The importance of these collections is not judged by the artist but on the basis of the sitter. Not all collections have remarkable artistic work.
The gallery also has some of the excellent self-portraits of notable British artists. One such historically important portrait is the group portrait of the participants of the 1604 Somerset House conference. From 1969 onwards the Portrait Gallery allowed portraits of living figures in their collections. Apart from its permanent galleries, it also exhibits the works of individual artists. These works were mainly modern arts. They also hold the prestigious competition of BP Portrait Prize.
Why Is It So Important
The gallery is one of its kind and is a must-see for everyone who visits London. Once there you would spend an entire seeing the art and culture that the gallery has in store for you. The collections of its culture and heritage will leave you speechless. So the next time you are in London make sure that you take some time off and pay a visit to the gallery.