Wandering through the various levels of The National Portrait Gallery is akin to cutting a geological slice through the great and the good of British history. The whole gamut of influential personages is there, peering back at the gazers and this mirrored narcissism is perhaps what underlies our fascintation with portraits.
The likenesses captured in canvas and beneath layers of paint are breathtaking in the art alone but the Epstein portrait sculptures made the most impression. Cast in dynamic dimensions of rough and ready reality, so much of the characters still resonate through the bronzes:
And when the visitor tires of meeting so many faces, the quiet inner stairwells offer a cool contrast of Florentine Renaissance architecture transposed to Georgian England.
Links: National Portrait Gallery