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from the
Portrait Gallery

28 May 2022 – 4 September 2022

Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery ran from 28 May 2022 – 4 September 2022.

Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery was a collaborative display organised with the National Portrait Gallery, London, to explore identity, representation and the contemporary relevance of portraiture. Ten loans from the National Portrait Gallery were displayed alongside historic portraits from Compton Verney’s collection, highlighting connections between the people represented and raising questions about who we choose to immortalise in portraiture collections.

A close-up portrait photograph of a Black woman with brown eyes, smooth skin and short brown hair, her head slightly turned to one side against a dark background, wearing a blue shirt with orange details.
Denise Lewis by Simon Frederick, 2016 © Simon Frederick & National Portrait Gallery

About the

The exhibition highlighted people with connections to the Midlands whose ideas, words, art or activism has shaped modern Britain and the wider world. The people represented by the National Portrait Gallery loans included acclaimed writers Benjamin Zephaniah and George Eliot, leading contemporary artists Sonia Boyce OBE, RA and Gillian Wearing CBE, RA, former parliamentarian Mo Mowlam, occultist and writer Aleister Crowley, actress and comedian Dame Julie Walters, Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Denise Lewis OBE, philanthropist and campaigner Dame Elizabeth Cadbury and activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.

This exhibition was created as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s transformational Inspiring People project, which included an extensive programme of nationwide activities, funded by The National Heritage Lottery Fund and Art Fund. These ambitious partnerships with museums, local community groups and schools aimed to bring the Gallery closer to communities across the UK.