National Portrait Gallery to represent National Trust portraiture collection for commercial licensing

Oil painting on panel, King Henry VIII (1491-1547), after Hans Holbein the younger (Augsburg 1497/8 - London 1543), 16th century. A half-length portrait in richly embroidered brown coat, jewelled and feathered black cap, jewelled gold neck chain of H design and jewelled medallion. Holding leather gloves in his right hand, ring on index finger. Frame has gilt label 'Henry VIII, Holbein'. Picture light attached to back of frame. One of several copies of a lost original. From Newbattle Abbey.
National Portrait Gallery press release – 15 August, 2019.

The National Portrait Gallery is pleased to announce representation of over 3,000 portraits from the National Trust collection, which are now available for commercial licensing and reproduction.

The Gallery holds the most extensive  collection of portraits in the world, more than 330,000, and is expanding the content it makes available for  licensing to include significant works of portraiture from other British institutions and archives.

The addition of the  National Trust collection will broaden the works available for key sitters such as Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Tudor  monarchs, whilst complimenting the Gallery’s Collection with new artists across different periods and artistic movements. These additions to the Gallery’s content will also develop its position as a key source of portraits for commercial licensing. 

The National Trust cares for the largest art collection in the United Kingdom. Displayed in over 200 houses in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, the pictures in the collection offer a visual history of art collecting since the sixteenth  century, and the majority of these works are comprised of portraits.  These range from sixteenth-century panel portraits of Tudor monarchs (Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire) to twentieth-century family portraits by Rex Whistler (Plas Newydd, Anglesey). 

They were commissioned or bought, collected and displayed by some of the most important patrons through the centuries, including Elizabeth Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury (Bess of Hardwick, c.1527-1608); the Duke and  Duchess of Lauderdale (1616-82 and 1626-98), George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837), William John Bankes (1786-1855) and Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted (1882-1948).

To discover the National Trust collection go to

The Rights & Images team handles requests for  reproduction, images can be licensed via the website or by contacting the Rights & Images team directly at

All National Trust images will also continue to be licensed through the Trust’s  own image library.

All revenue raised by licensing activities directly supports the work of the National Portrait Gallery, allowing the Gallery to help continue to make the Collection freely available to view in London, and on the website; supporting the Gallery’s curatorial, academic, educational work, and the conservation and care of the original portraits.

Notes to editors

About the National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 to encourage through portraiture the appreciation and understanding of the people who have made and are making British history and culture. Today it promotes engagement with portraiture in all media to a wide-ranging public by conserving, growing and sharing the world’s largest collection of portraits.

The Gallery holds over 330,000 portraits in its Collection, from the 16th Century to the present day. Sitters and artists featured range from Elizabeth I to David Bowie, Holbein to Julia Margaret Cameron, and includes work across all media, from painting and sculpture to photography.

The Gallery has a diverse and ever-growing Collection, with new acquisitions reflecting contemporary Britain, and a programme of exhibitions and events that promote an understanding and appreciation of portraiture in all forms. 

Picture credits: King Henry VIII after Hans Holbein the younger (NT_355468), Jane ‘Jeanie’ Elizabeth Hughes, Mrs Nassau John Senior by George Frederick Watts (NT_1288949); Agatha Christie, aged 4 by Douglas John Connah(NT_120816). All images ©National Trust Images / National Portrait Gallery, London