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Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery

A Century of Photography 1840-1940

The photographs in this room have been chosen to illustrate photography's expressive power. The best photographs show us not just what a person looked like, but also provide a window on their character, giving us a sense of what it might have been like to be in their prescience. This is one of the great paradoxes of photographic portraiture – that something of a person's spirit, thought, and feeling might be glimpsed in one, carefully chosen moment in time.

Room introductionFind out more about the display Photography: A Public Art, 1840 - 1939

See also: The Room 29 wallcase at the National Portrait Gallery

See also: The Room 29 showcase at the National Portrait Gallery

28 portraits on display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery

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William Makepeace Thackeray, by Unknown photographer - NPG P1996

William Makepeace Thackeray

by Unknown photographer
ninth plate daguerreotype in case with lock of hair, 1852-1853
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P1996

Mrs Donald Stewart and her children, by George Washington Wilson - NPG P22(26)

Mrs Donald Stewart and her children

by George Washington Wilson
albumen print, 1861
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P22(26)

Thomas Pateshall Monnington, by Julia Margaret Cameron - NPG P286

Thomas Pateshall Monnington

by Julia Margaret Cameron
albumen print, 1866-1867
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P286

Harley Granville-Barker, by Frederick Henry Evans - NPG P1033

Harley Granville-Barker

by Frederick Henry Evans
platinum print, 1900
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P1033

Virginia Woolf, by George Charles Beresford - NPG P221

Virginia Woolf

by George Charles Beresford
platinum print, July 1902
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P221

Harley Granville-Barker, by Alvin Langdon Coburn - NPG P1031

Harley Granville-Barker

by Alvin Langdon Coburn
gum platinum print, 27 March 1906
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P1031

Gordon Craig, by Edward Steichen - NPG P508

Gordon Craig

by Edward Steichen
gum platinum print, 1908
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P508

Dame Gladys Cooper, by Curtis Moffat - NPG P430

Dame Gladys Cooper

by Curtis Moffat
chlorobromide print, 1925
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P430

James Joyce, by Berenice Abbott - NPG P609

James Joyce

by Berenice Abbott
bromide print, 1926
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P609

Ben Nicholson, by Humphrey Spender - NPG P42

Ben Nicholson

by Humphrey Spender
bromide print, circa 1935
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P42

Edward James, by Norman Parkinson - NPG P1664

Edward James

by Norman Parkinson
chlorobromide print, late 1930s
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P1664

Elsa Lanchester, by Angus McBean - NPG P921

Elsa Lanchester

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1938
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P921

Humphrey Jennings, by Lee Miller - NPG P156

Humphrey Jennings

by Lee Miller
gelatin silver print, 1942
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P156

'Soldier', by Antoine Claudet - NPG x199971

'Soldier'

by Antoine Claudet
quarter-plate daguerreotype, 1842-1844
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x199971

The Earl and Countess of Crawford and Balcarres, by Thomas Rodger - NPG x5712

The Earl and Countess of Crawford and Balcarres

by Thomas Rodger
Collodion calotype (salt print from a wet-plate collodion negative), circa 1853-1855
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x5712

Omar Pasha, by Roger Fenton - NPG Ax24904

Omar Pasha

by Roger Fenton
salt print, 1855
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG Ax24904

Charles Dickens, by John & Charles Watkins - NPG x14339

Charles Dickens

by John & Charles Watkins
albumen print on card, September 1863
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x14339

Frederic William Henry Myers; Harold Hawthorn Myers, by Eveleen Myers (née Tennant) - NPG Ax68391

Frederic William Henry Myers; Harold Hawthorn Myers

by Eveleen Myers (née Tennant)
sepia platinotype, circa 1890
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG Ax68391

Anthea Rosemary Carew (née Gamble); Patrick Henry Noel Gamble; Helen Maud Gamble (née Isherwood), by Cavendish Morton - NPG x128816

Anthea Rosemary Carew (née Gamble); Patrick Henry Noel Gamble; Helen Maud Gamble (née Isherwood)

by Cavendish Morton
pigment print on thin paper tissue, 1913
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x128816

Indira, Maharani of Cooch Behar, by Bertram Park - NPG x199899

Indira, Maharani of Cooch Behar

by Bertram Park
bromide print, circa 1920
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x199899