2012 | National Portrait Gallery

2012 | National Portrait Gallery

FROM THE WEBSITE: Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery, London is ‘to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, and … to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media’.

The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. The Collection is displayed in London and in a number of locations around the United Kingdom, including several houses managed by the National Trust. The Gallery is increasingly keen to find new ways to share the Collection through the National Programmes, as well as through this website.

Like other national museums, the Gallery is supported both by government and increasingly by a large number of individuals, companies, trusts and foundations, as well as by the receipts from ticketed exhibitions, shops, catering and events.

The Gallery aims to bring history to life through its extensive display, exhibition, research, learning, outreach, publishing and digital programmes. These allow us to stimulate debate and to address questions of biography, diversity and fame which lie at the heart of issues of identity and achievement.

The National Portrait Gallery aims to be the foremost centre for the study of and research into portraiture, as well as making its work and activities of interest to as wide a range of visitors as possible.


— Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge became Patron in January 2012.
— Purchase Catherine’s photography book, Hold Still, here.


February 08, 2012 – Lucian Freud Portraits Exhibition At The National Portrait Gallery – In her first solo engagement Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attended the Lucian Freud portraits exhibition at National Portrait Gallery in London, England. During her visited Catherine chatted with Sarah Howgate, curator of the exhibit, and Sandy Nairne, National Portrait Gallery Director.

July 19, 2012 – Visiting National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Road To 2012: Aiming High’ Exhibition – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits the ‘Road To 2012: Aiming High’ exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. The Duchess of Cambridge as Patron of the National Portrait Gallery visited the exhibition, which showcases commissioned photographs documenting preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and runs from July 19 – September 23.

January 11, 2013 – Official Portrait By Paul Emsley Is Unveiled At The National Portrait Gallery – At the National Portrait Gallery in London, England, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was given a private viewing of her first-ever official portrait with artist Paul Emsley. Titled “HRH The Duchess of Cambridge,” the painting will be displayed as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s Contemporary Collections. The Duchess had given Emsley two sittings, one at Kensington Palace and the other at the artist’s studio, with the aim of being portrayed naturally rather than officially. Emsley was impressed with the Duchess’s openness, generosity, and warm personality and said that having her smiling in the portrait was the right choice as it reflected her true self.

April 24, 2013 – The Duchess Of Cambridge Attends The Art Room Reception – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends The Art Room reception at National Portrait Gallery in London, England. This event was a reception celebrating the work done by The Art Room (an organization using art to help young people struggling with emotional and behavioral issues) as well as the launch the fundraising efforts for Pledge for the Future . The Duchess is also Patron of The Art Room. Catherine gave a speech at this event, and met with children.

February 11, 2014 – The Duchess Of Cambridge Attends The Portrait Gala 2014: Collecting to Inspire – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends The Portrait Gala 2014: Collecting To Inspire at National Portrait Gallery in London, England. During her visit The Duchess met with the writers behind the Pen Portraits, which are sketches that use words rather than pictures. The portraits will be sold to to raise funds for the National Portrait Gallery. Catherine also spoke with guests and attended the dinner reception. The Duchess also made remarks at this event.

March 11, 2015 – Visiting Turner Contemporary Gallery – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits Turner Contemporary as Patron of the National Portrait Gallery in Margate, England. During this event The Duchess met with museum officials and trustees, and local artist John Davies, whose sculpture Scarecrow is on display at the museum. The visit included a meeting at the institution’s Clore Learning Studio, where The Duchess spent time with local children. Afterward, she visited Margate’s Restort Studios, converted in 2013 from a Victorian warehouse into work and exhibition spaces for photographers, painters, fashion designers, and filmmakers.

May 04, 2016 – “Vogue 100: A Century Of Style” Exhibition At The National Portrait Gallery – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gets a private tour of the ‘Vogue 100: A Century of Style’ exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. The exhibition features two photos taken by British photographer Josh Olins. The Duchess appeared on the cover of the British Vogue in her first ever photo shoot for the centenary issue in June 2016 in her capacity as patron of the National Portrait Gallery..

March 28, 2017 – Attending The Portrait Gala – Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge attended a fundraising event, reception, and dinner at the National Portrait Gallery. The event hosted friends of the gallery, individual and corporate supporters, artists, and prominent individuals. The money raised during the event will support delivering inspirational exhibitions and displays, offering unique learning opportunities, and undertaking world-class research. In addition, some of the funds will be directed towards a new project called Coming Home, enabling the Gallery to send portraits of key sitters from its collection to places that are special to them. This will help create a personal connection for local communities to a more extensive national history. The guests at the event were treated to a unique performance by Laura Mvula. They had the opportunity to bid in a live auction for items that included works by Antony Gormley and Luc Tuymans, a 3D portrait commission by Gillian Wearing, a portrait workshop at Jonathan Yeo’s studio, and a commissioned portrait by Alessandro Raho.

February 28, 2018 – Visiting The ‘Victorian Giants’ Exhibition – The Duchess of Cambridge visited the National Portrait Gallery in London, England, to view the ‘Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography’ exhibition. The Duchess curated the spring exhibition of Victorian photography and selected several images for the show. Her interest in 19th-century photography dates back to her time studying art history at the University of St. Andrews, where she wrote her undergraduate thesis. In the exhibition catalog’s foreword, the Duchess writes that she is particularly drawn to photos of Victorian children and that “these photographs allow us to reflect on the importance of preserving and appreciating childhood while it lasts.” She also notes that children held a special place in the Victorian imagination and were celebrated for their seemingly boundless potential, a notion that still rings true for us today.

March 12, 2019 – Attending The 2019 Portrait Gala – The Duchess of Cambridge attended the 2019 Portrait Gala at the National Portrait Gallery. Funds from the event will support Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery,a project that will see a significant refurbishment of the building including a new new entrance and forecourt . During her visit Catherine met with members of the Gallery’s Youth Forum and viewed artwork produced by some of the National Portrait Gallery’s outreach schemes.

January 28, 2020 – National Portrait Gallery Workshop At Evelina London Children’s Hospital – The Duchess of Cambridge who is Patron of both the National Portrait Gallery and Evelina London Children’s Hospital visited Evelina London to learn more about the creative arts workshops that are delivered there by the National Portrait Gallery’s Hospital Programme. The National Portrait Gallery has been bringing workshops and artists into the hospital for the last 15 years, helping to support the health, wellbeing and happiness of the children who receive care there. During her visit The Duchess joined in with groups of children on the atrium, as well as visiting Beach Ward, where young people awaiting surgery were able to also take part. During other workshops Catherine joined children who were making sets and characters for their own pop-up theaters and practicing their photography skills with one young man getting the opportunity to photograph The Duchess.

May 07, 2021 – The Publication Of “Hold Still” – The Duchess of Cambridge marked the release of her new photography book, Hold Still, at The National Portrait Gallery. The book was made in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery about what life was like in the U.K. during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an Instagram post, Catherine said, “Through Hold Still, I wanted to use the power of photography to create a lasting record of what we were all experiencing – to capture individuals’ stories and document significant moments for families and communities as we lived through the pandemic.” In 2020 Catherine held a photography competition where she asked the public to submit photographs taken during the lockdown. When visiting the National Portrait Gallery, Kate met some of the finalists whose pictures are featured. To add further excitement to publication day, The Duchess hid 150 books around the U.K. for individuals to find, including a letter from her. The project was a success as Hold Still was a best-seller, the 100 photographs became a part of the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection, and the cover portrait was hung at the Royal London Hospital to commemorate the work of the NHS during the pandemic. Hold Still also won the category “Best Use of Digital – U.K.” at the 2021 Museums + Heritage Awards, which recognizes excellence in gallery attractions.

June 20, 2023 – Reopening The National Portrait Gallery – After a three-year refurbishment The Princess of Wales reopened The National Portrait Gallery. The remodel is the biggest redevelopment project that the building has seen since 1896. The refurbishment includes refurbished galleries, more than 50 new acquisitions, and the restoration of the Grade I listed building. During her visit, The Princess had the opportunity to see some of the Gallery’s new acquisitions.