At St. Martins Place is the site of the National Portrait Gallery. The Gallery was founded in 1856 to collected and display picture of Royalty and political figures.
The works range as far back as the Fourteenth century. The twentieth century collection even has portraits of Rolling Stones front man, Mick Jagger and Elton John. One of the most precious images is the only surviving portrait of William Shakespeare, as well as works by Gainsborough, Sargent and Van Dyck.
Set over several floors, the Gallery is laid out chronologically with the newest portraits on the ground floor and the eldest at the top.
In 2000 the Tudor and Balcony Gallery were opened to display the eldest works in the collection and some modern works as well.
The National Portrait Gallery feature fifty portraits of the Queen and sixty-five portraits of William Gladstone. There is a portrait of Henrietta Anne that measures less than an inch squared, and at 52, 000 times the size is an oil painting by Sargent that measures over five metres wide and nearly three metres tall.The National Portrait Gallery hold regular exhibitions of new works, most of which hold an admission fee. In the roof of the building is a restaurant with breathtaking views of the city.Admission to the National Portrait Gallery is free, other than specific exhibition dates.
Culture vultures: head to London's best museums and galleries
Established in 1856, The National Portrait Gallery is one of London’s most historic museums. With a vast permanent collection backed by six or seven temporary shows a year, there is always something – or someone – new to see. You can also view the collection in the new multimedia room and enjoy the amazing views across Trafalgar Square from the Portrait restaurant on the top floor.