Some world famous art galleries are situated in London. Among them we should first mention the National Gallery housing the national collection of European paintings. It was founded in 1824 when the British government bought 38 paintings that had belonged to the recently deceased merchant John Julius Angerstein. Many other important bequests to the collection followed. The new museum initially occupied Angerstein’s house at 100 Pall Mall, & was relocated to its current building on the north side of Trafalgar Square in 1838.
The National Gallery has the most comprehensive collection of Italian Renaissance paintings outside Italy, with works of the great Florentine & Venetian masters of that period.
The museum also has impressive holdings of works by Rembrandt & other Dutch artists as well as by various French, Spanish, & Flemish painters from the 15th to the 19th century.
The National Portrait Gallery in London houses the national collection of portraits of British men & women, including drawings, miniatures, busts & photographs as well as oil paintings. The gallery was founded in 1856 & opened to the public in 1859 with a collection of 57 portraits. Its aim is to record & collect historical pictures & also to illustrate the personalities of great men & women. The criterion for inclusion in the gallery has always been the celebrity of the sitter rather than the merit of the artist, though many superb works of art are in the collection. Portraits of living persons were admitted to the gallery only after many years of excluding them.
The collection is arranged chronologically, beginning with the Tudors, & moving on through the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries to portraits of living people. The arrangement of the gallery illustrates different themes in British history, & maps & other objects are used to complement the pictures. Among the gallery’s holdings are a miniature of Sir Francis Drake by Nicholas Hilliard, dating from 1581, portraits of.