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Love Stories

From the National Portrait Gallery, London

Daily from Saturday 20 June 2020 until Sunday 11 October 2020

Inspired by stories of love – from the sensuous to the scandalous, the tragic to the transcendent – an exhibition of stunning works from the collections of the National Portrait Galleries of London and Canberra will open in June 2020.

An Australian exclusive, with a limited three-month season, the exhibition is the culmination of a grand partnership between two of the world’s outstanding national portrait collections. 

Love Stories will feature portraits of some of the world’s best-known couples from the sixteenth century through to the present day – from John Donne, King Charles II and his mistress Barbara Palmer, Venetia Digby, Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas, to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, members of the British royal family and David and Victoria Beckham. 

Featured artists include such luminaries as Cecil Beaton, Annie Leibowitz, Man Ray, David Hockney and Patrick Lichfield, amongst many others.

In addition, several new photographic portraits of high-profile Australians, complete with their own love stories, have been commissioned especially for the exhibition.

Selected images from the exhibition

1Venetia, Lady Digby, circa 1633-1634 by Sir Anthony van Dyck. 2Ellen Terry ('Choosing'), 1864 by George Frederic Watts. 3Helen Richardson-Walsh (née Richardson) and Kate Richardson-Walsh (née Walsh), 30 August 2016 by Graham Hughes. 4Yoko Ono and John Lennon, early 1970s by Herb Schmitz. 5Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, 30 May 1937 by an unknown photographer. 6Edwin Sandys and Cicely Sandys (née Wilford), late 17th century after an Unknown artist, based on a work of 1571.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196
The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which the NPG stands.