Your family photos can be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery

People across the UK are being called upon to submit their family photos for display in one of the country’s most prestigious art galleries.

To date, more than 1,000 family photos have been submitted to The Nation’s Family Album, giving participants the chance to have their family photos and stories featured in a digital exhibition, as well as to be displayed at the iconic National Portrait Gallery, in London, a time it reopens in 2023. The gallery is teaming up with family history experts Ancestry in the search for undiscovered portraits of ordinary British people.

Two esteemed judges will join the panel of experts who shortlist the portraits that best portray the themes of the project, Belonging, Legacy, Connection & Identity; Royal and family portrait photographer Millie Pilkington and baritone Peter Brathwaite – known for his series of photographs, Rediscovering Black Portraiture. The National Portrait Gallery’s Chief Curator, Dr. Alison Smith, and family history expert Simon Pearce of Ancestry will form the rest of the jury.

Millie Pilkington said: “It is an honor to work with Ancestry and the National Portrait Gallery on this inspiring initiative for the nation. Every photo has a story to tell, but what I look for most of all are images that capture the spirit of the nanny or capturing the moment and which give a sort of ‘biographical’ insight into their personality and background. And the icing on the cake is when these are achieved with beautiful light in an interesting composition. I am genuinely excited to see the multitude of unique and discover fascinating family history stories in the entries!”

Queen Elizabeth II, published by James Valentine & Sons Ltd, November 4, 1952

Peter Brathwaite added: “Everyone has a connection to our family’s past and photos – past and present – powerfully bring this history to life, whether that’s through a touch of nostalgia from looking at an old family vacation photo, or a moment of connection when we ‘see’ ourselves in a photograph of an ancestor from generations ago.It is a pleasure to support Ancestry and the National Portrait Gallery with such a powerful project that the many families living in Britain today represents – and the people from all over the world who came before them.”

It comes as Ancestry revealed that less than a quarter (23 percent) of Brits display family photos in their homes.

Now that the family portrait once had a prominent place in the home, only 13 percent of Britons now hang their family photos on their walls and one in ten (10 percent) put them elsewhere, such as on shelves or mantelpieces. Others store their family photos digitally, either on their smartphone (15 percent) or their computer (13 percent).

Royal and family portrait photographer, Millie Pilkington, and baritone Peter Brathwaite, known for his series of photographs Rediscovering Black Portraiture
Royal and family portrait photographer, Millie Pilkington, and baritone Peter Brathwaite, known for his series of photographs Rediscovering Black Portraiture

The survey also found that pictures of children (35 percent) are most often seen, followed by grandchildren (14 percent) and parents (14 percent) of whom people also put up “pawtraits” of their pets (7 percent). Despite one in 10 (11 percent) admitting not showing pictures of their family, more than a third (34 percent) say they want more family photos, rising to 45 percent among 18- to 34-year-olds.

The findings also found that nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of Britons have not had their family photo taken for more than a year, with people most likely to take it on special occasions such as weddings (27 per cent), birthdays (36 percent) and during the winter holidays (29 percent).

People from Manchester and Bristol are most proud of their family photos, with an average of 19 family photos in their home, followed by Londoners showing an average of 18 family photos.

Everyone in the UK is invited to upload their favorite family photos to The Nation’s Family Album by Thursday 30th June 2022. For more information on submitting your family photos and the eligibility conditions, please visit /Family Album

In addition, a collection of 125,000 digitized portraits from the National Portrait Gallery is now available for free to Ancestry users. Printed copies of the portraits can be purchased from the National Portrait Gallery shop:

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