National Portrait Gallery Heinz Archive and Library

Contact details

Website: E-mail: Tel: 020 7321 6617

Photo of National Portrait Gallery

Image copyright: Philip Waterman

About the library

The National Portrait Gallery has collected library materials since the founding of the Gallery in 1856, and the Heinz Archive & Library now holds approximately 35,000 books and exhibition catalogues, runs of 150 periodical titles (70 currently received), catalogues from sales featuring portraits from 1866 to the present, a collection of approximately 600 rare books, and a small number of theses and dissertations. Additionally, the Archive & Library holds extensive image files organized by sitter and by artist, an index of over 1,000,000 references to portraits, the Gallery's Reference Collection of prints and drawings, and its Archive Collections: Gallery Records (the institutional records of the Gallery which date from its foundation to the present day) and a number of Collected Archives (material acquired from external sources because of its relevance to the study of British portraiture).

The library actively collects materials pertaining to portraiture, biography and British culture and history. It welcomes donations of relevant papers submitted for research degrees, which are made available to the public only under supervision.

All catalogued library materials are reported to Copac quarterly. Holdings of rare books are additionally reported to ESTC.

The local library catalogue updates daily and records:

  • Books, exhibition catalogues and theses acquired since 1994 (retrospective cataloguing of older materials is ongoing).
  • Both current and dead runs of periodicals (recording of holdings-level data is ongoing).
  • Files of portrait images arranged by artist.
The local library catalogue does not record:
  • Archive material (Gallery Records and Collected Archives).
  • Reference Collection of prints and drawings.
  • Sales catalogues.
  • Files of portrait images arranged by sitter.

Accessing materials

Can I see live document availablility on Copac? No

Can I obtain items via Inter Library Loan? No.

Can I visit the library to view materials?Yes, we are open to the public by appointment, Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm. Details on how to visit the Heinz Archive & Library are here:

How do I find primary source material held at this institution? Gallery Records are being catalogued onto an Archive Catalogue, and handlists to the Collected Archives and the Reference Collection are also available online and on site.


National Portrait Gallery data on Copac

Example record from the National Portrait Gallery:

Raccolta di dodici busti cavati dalle antiche statue originali e sono l'Apollo Citaredo colle Muse, e l'Apollo detto di Belvedere, queste si ammirano nel Museo Pio-Clementino; la Venere de' Medici, nel Museo Ducale in Firenze / I medesimi diligentemente disegnati dal Domenico del Frate ed incisi dal Pietro Fontana.
  Published: Roma : Aqapito Franzetti [1794?]

You can browse all the titles on Copac starting with the above title.