See a rare Shakespeare portrait at National Portrait Gallery

Charing Cross, Greater London

The National Portrait Gallery holds a vital key to what Shakespeare looked like, with what may be the only portrait of the bard painted from life.

This famous portrait of William Shakespeare was, amazingly enough, the first painting ever acquired by the National Portrait Gallery when it was founded in 1856.

Known as the 'Chandos portrait', the painting is thought to be the work of artist John Taylor and is cautiously said to be the only portrait of Shakespeare that has any claim to have been painted from life.

Exhibited in Room 4, the painting is one of more than 1,000 portraits of famous British men and women on display in the gallery, dating from the 16th century to the present day and including faces as varied as Queen Elizabeth I, Winston Churchill and David Bowie.

As well as the vast permanent collection in display, the National Portrait Gallery hosts a vibrant programme of new exhibitions, not least the eagerly anticipated annual BP Portrait Award.

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Shakespeare at the National Portrait GalleryShakespeare at the National Portrait Gallery © National Portrait Gallery

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