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The National Portrait Gallery

Home > London > Art | Exhibitions | Free | Galleries | Rainy Day
by Charlotte Rees-Williams (subscribe)
I'm Lottie, a freelance writer/aspiring journalist, sometimes residing in Cardiff, sometimes in London! Visit my blog at
Published August 22nd 2012
Gratify your craving for culture
Are you looking for a culture fix? Whether it's the past or present that interests you, the National Portrait Gallery in London offers visitors some of the finest portraits of the best of Britain - from 16th Century masterpieces to contemporary prints of current popstars. Important figures from history will certainly be found here from royals including Queen Victoria and our current Queen Elizabeth, right across the board to feminist Germaine Greer and celebrity Joan Collins. Free to everybody, this is the perfect activity to indulge in on a rainy day.

With over 1.8 million visitors a year, the National Portrait Gallery is one of the most popular and important museums in the country. Founded in 1856, the gallery has accumulated thousands of original pieces over the years, many originating back to the Tudor times.

Currently showing to honour the year of the diamond Jubilee is The Queen, Art and Image, a celebration of different portraits of the royal, including formal portraits to commissioned photographs and paintings by contemporary artists. Featured artists included Lucian Freud and Andy Warhol. This is one exhibition to get you in a patriotic mood.

Also showing is an interesting exhibition on versions and copies of Tudor Portraits, aptly named Double Take. This display brings together five near identical portraits and invites you to explore how they subtly differ in order to identify which are contemporary and which are the older copies. Portraits of all your Tudor favourites are used - from Henry the Eighth to Anne Boleyn. This exhibition will really get you thinking and you will leave having learnt some very interesting facts.

There are a wide range of displays on offer to suit all art lovers' needs at the National Portrait Gallery. Coming up in September is Marilyn Monroe: a British Love Affair, a sure-fire favourite with the ladies and the men. This display will celebrate the life of the beauty from 1947-62 through various photographs and magazine covers and her journey towards becoming a top Hollywood actress. Starting on the 29th September and running until 1st March 2013 you have plenty of time to plan a trip to this.

The National Portrait Gallery is the perfect place to take some time out from your hectic lifestyle and to sit back and simply take in some of the most beautiful portraits ever created. Who knows, maybe one day your very own portrait will hang up on the walls. We can all dream.

Visit the National Portrait Gallery website here.
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Why? Interesting and free
When: All Year Round
Where: National Portrait Gallery
Cost: Free
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