If you have famous British ancestors (and maybe less famous ones) or just and interest in history, then the publication of a major collection of portraits will interest you.  Over 125,000 digitised images from the UK’s National Portrait Gallery have been made available online at Ancestry.

The UK, Portraits and Photographs, 1547- 2018 collection, captures British history and culture in a variety of mediums, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, drawings, and prints. The National Portrait Gallery, which owns the collection, showcases the work of many acclaimed artists and photographers.  Portraits in the collection are selected primarily for their subject matter and the sitter’s importance to British culture and history. But, while there are many iconic portraits of famous figures, the collection also includes images of individuals from all walks of life, for exaple:

Dr Alison Smith, Chief Curator at National Portrait Gallery, said:

“The National Portrait Gallery is home to the largest collection of portraits in the world, and while many are familiar with our most famous faces, we are proud to also hold numerous portraits of men, women and children from all walks of life. By making 125,000 portraits from the 1500s to the present day available on Ancestry, people will be able to explore the histories of those depicted in our Collection. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Ancestry to share our extensive collection of world-class portraits with those researching their family history online.”

Simon Pearce, Family History expert at Ancestry, added:

“The saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is particularly relevant when researching your family history. Portraits can reveal how our family members once looked, how they lived and even certain personality traits. That’s why we’re so excited to be working with the National Portrait Gallery to provide wider access to some of its captivating and historically rich collection. Hosting these portraits online at Ancestry means more people can explore nearly 500 years of British life – and some might even discover a picture of their own family member!”