National Portrait Gallery Visit

The National Portrait Gallery was an interesting trip. A lot of the paintings resemble the painting from the The National Gallery, showing a great representation of the standard of work from each period. It also says a lot about the teaching in the art community. As most artists would apprentice for a well know or accomplished artist, before moving on to be known as an artist on there own.

One thing I found interesting when looking at the portraits, especially the older paintings was the amount of detail in the features of the face as well as the clothing is very intricate. Which must have been very hard to do yet the final painting looks so effortless. I also found it amazing how photographic many of the paintings look. The artists had incredible skill.

IMG_6132I have found that gallery’s like the National portrait gallery are an amazing place to get inspiration for production design, especially for costume and set design, as many have historically correct clothing. They also show historical events that have importance, they help to show what happened in our past and shaped the future. I find that they give a view point that is unique.

But this also shows a wide range of modern art as well which makes it a prime place to look to be inspired for any type of film. Weather looking for inspiration for a piece of art work or a film, galleries offer a range of pieces in many different forms – Paintings, sculptures, photos etc. – that can be used for reference when designing new art work and production design for films and TV shows.


Not only does the art work itself offer influence and inspiration but the gallery’s building and lighting can be influential. For example how the art work is lit can help to show off its best attributes. An example of this is this statue (see photo below) the way the light hits the statue highlighting some of the curves and textural details of the clothing and the face.


When you move around the statue and look at it from different angles different details come into view. I have found that the lighting used plays a big part into how we see things and can play a big part into the mood or atmosphere of a room. Another example of how light can change or create an atmosphere in a room is the image below. The placement of the lights in this room help to draw the eye around the room, as well as the placement of the paintings and sculptures. The lighting gives this 2D image depth which from an inspiration point of view for film is very important to create depth to help build a believable on screen environment.


When ever I go to a gallery I always try to get some postcards of pieces that I liked through out my visit, since the postcards in the gallery’s shop are the best versions of the images I could get since many are in glass picture frames. Which makes taking photos hard.

In the image below is the postcards I bought from this trip to the National Portrait Gallery I try to find images that have an interesting use of lighting or with design elements that make it unique and stand out from the other images.


Link to Gallery website:


Opening times:                                                  Link to directions on google maps:


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