Self-portraits in a mirror. Paris, 1964 © 1964 Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney selfies among National Portrait Gallery’s reopening exhibitions

Image: Self-portraits in a mirror. Paris, 1964 © 1964 Paul McCartney.

The Gallery’s line-up includes portraits of The Beatles taken by Paul McCartney, photographers Yevonde, Julia Margaret Cameron and Francesca Woodman, work by David Hockney, and paintings by leading Black artists

The National Portrait Gallery has revealed the exhibitions programme which will follow the completion of the largest redevelopment in its history.

Visitors will be welcomed from 22 June 2023 with the opening exhibition ‘Yevonde: Life and Colour’, which will explore the life and career of the twentieth century photographer, Yevonde, who pioneered the use of colour photography in the 1930s. Supported by the CHANEL Culture Fund, the exhibition builds on Reframing Narratives: Women in Portraiture, a three-year project that aims to enhance the representation of women in the Gallery’s Collection.

A week later, it opens ‘Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm’ which will comprise an archive of rediscovered and never-before-seen portraits captured by the musician with his own camera between December 1963 and February 1964, during his time in The Beatles.


The Gallery’s autumn programme into 2024 will see the return of ‘David Hockney: Drawing from Life’, which was staged for just 20 days before the Gallery’s closure due to Covid in March 2020.

In February 2024, the Gallery will stage a major survey of African diasporic artists working in the UK and America. Curated by Ekow Eshun, former Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, ‘The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure’ will showcase the work of contemporary artists including Hurvin Anderson, Michael Armitage, Jordan Casteel, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Noah Davis, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Titus Kaphar, Kerry James Marshall, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Amy Sherald, Henry Taylor and Barbara Walker.

Peter & Sue from the series Modern Love by Curtis Hughes (April 2022) © Curtis Hughes.

The final exhibition within the National Portrait Gallery’s year-long programme will be ‘Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron: Portraits to Dream In’, which will showcase more than 150 rare vintage prints. The exhibition will span and connect the entire career of both artists – who worked 100 years apart.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, the Director of the National Portrait Gallery, said the programme was the “most ambitious and innovative programme to date.”


Following the opening, The Gallery’s annual Photographic Portrait Prize will be renamed the Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize to mark the exhibition’s return to the Gallery after two years at Cromwell Place.