The National Gallery houses the national collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the 13th to the 19th centuries.  The collection is accessible to the public for free both online and in person at our central London location in Trafalgar Square.  Our ambition is to establish a central role for Old Master paintings in modern life.

Research is a core component in helping us meet our strategic ambition.  The breadth of the Gallery’s research activities ranges from art historical enquiry to scientific analysis, and from the study of conservation to the history of collecting.  The major international significance of the Gallery’s collection and our comprehensive research activities are reflected in our status as an Independent Research Organisation.

All of this research contributes to the public understanding of the National Gallery collection. As a result, this outstanding collection is one of the most closely studied and thoroughly researched in the world.

research partnerships

The National Gallery is recognised as an Independent Research Organisation by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.  This status encourages us to forge links with external institutions such as HEIs and other research organisations.  These collaborations both enrich the Gallery’s own expertise and allow that expertise to engage with the wider national and international research community.

Collaborations encompass national and international research projects on specific themes, joint MA programmes, conferences and symposia, collaborative doctoral awards, and doctoral training programmes.  These activities help us expand the field of knowledge on Old Master paintings and help foster the next generation of curators and specialists in this area of research.