Please note due to the installation of Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, our British Portraits Gallery and Women's Library will be closed until Thursday 26 May. Portrait Artist of the Year and our other permanent collections will remain open. We apologise for any inconvenience.

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Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery

Sat 28 MaySun 4 September

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Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery

Coinciding with the Commonwealth Games taking place in Birmingham during summer 2022, Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery will explore the role of modern Britain in the 21st-century through ten loans from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection.


These will be shown alongside portraits from our historic British Portraits collection, highlighting connections between some of the people represented and posing questions about who we might choose to immortalise in a contemporary portraiture collection, in contrast to the monarchs, aristocrats and military leaders of the past.


The show will feature people whose ideas, achievements, art or activism have helped to shape modern British society and the wider world, and are all figures with local connections, including dub poet and writer Benjamin Zephaniah, Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing, former politician Mo Mowlam, Olympian Denise Lewis and artist Sonia Boyce OBE RA.

This exhibition has been created in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery as part of their transformational Inspiring People project, which includes 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 aim to bring the Gallery closer to communities across the UK.

Image: William Beechey, Mirza Abu’l Hassan Khan © Photo by Prudence Cumming Associates