The National Portrait Gallery is unique in being both for and about people. From Katherine Parr to Martin Parr, we serve as the nation’s family album, inviting everyone to meet the people who have made, and are making, Britain what it is today. 

Founded in 1856, we are home to the largest and most prestigious collection of portraits in the world. Our portraits highlight the cultural and historical links that we all share, and encourages reflection on the nature of British identity, individual achievement and human stories. Spanning six centuries, our artworks reveal the inspiring and sometimes surprising personal stories that have shaped and continue to shape a nation – from global icons to local champions, national treasures to unsung heroes.  

 The Gallery was founded in the Victorian era with the aim of collecting portraits of ‘the most eminent persons in British history’. The role remains the same today – telling the story of the nation through people – although we have broadened our understanding of achievement to reflect the diversity and dynamism of contemporary culture. Another important development has been the increasing importance given to art and art history, leading to the Gallery’s role as a place to learn about the art of portraiture. 

 It is through the display of the Collection, exhibitions, loans, digital programmes, research, learning, publishing and outreach, that the Gallery tells the story of Britain through portraits, using art to bring history to life and explore living today.  

 Our vision is for lives to be inspired and society enriched through deeper connections with the nation’s stories and our role is to bring to life the human stories that have shaped and are shaping our ever-changing history. Our activities and aspirations are driven by the Gallery’s statutory aims and objectives as set out in the Museums and Galleries Act 1992: 

to care for, preserve and add to the portraits and other works of art and the documents in their collection;to secure that the portraits are exhibited to the public;to secure that the portraits and other works of art and the documents are available to persons seeking to inspect them in connection with study or research;and  

generally to promote the public’s enjoyment and understanding of portraiture of British persons and British history through portraiture both by means of the Board’s collection and by such other means as they consider appropriate.

David Ross Chair

Nicholas Cullinan Chief Executive

Why the NPG is supporting Boardroom Apprentice

At the NPG we believe strongly in the importance of diversity of views, experience and backgrounds and it is an ambition of the Board to increase the diversity of its membership in the future. We would like to be involved in this programme to play our part in supporting the pipeline of future trustees as we feel that we could provide a positive experience for aspiring Board members.

Location of Board and Committee Meetings

National Portrait Gallery, London (with 1x strategy day held offsite in a London venue)

Frequency and timing of board/committee meetings

4 meetings per year plus a strategy day.

Date of Board Meetings (January 2024 – December 2024)

7 February 2024; 15 May 2024; 17 July 2024; 25 September 2024 (strategy day); 6 November 2024

Committee of the Boards and meeting dates (January 2024 – December 2024)

Curatorial Committee;Finance and Operations Committee;Audit and Risk Committee;Chair’s Group;Ethics Committee;Investment Committee;Remunerations Committee;Portrait Fund