The National Portrait Gallery houses the world’s most extensive collection of portraits. Founded in 1856 and located just off Trafalgar Square, the Gallery ranks among the UK’s top ten most popular visitor attractions, and welcomed over 2 million visitors in 2016. As one of the only national collections to commission art works, it combines contemporary pieces with the historical, making the Gallery a living archive of Britain’s most influential and famous figures.
In support of the Gallery’s 2016 exhibition programme, the Trust gave a major grant to support the first exhibition of portraits by Sir Howard Hodgkin CH (1932-2017). Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends traced the artist’s distinctive contribution to portraiture and unveiled his last self-portrait, Portrait of the Artist Listening to Music (2011-16).