The National Gallery started life in 1824 when the British government purchased the collection of 38 pictures belonging to the estate of wealthy banker John Julius Angerstein. As there was no suitable space available to display the collection, the pictures were put on display in Angerstein's former home in Pall Mall. It was only in 1838 that the collection moved to its current site in Trafalgar Square. The building and collection have continued to expand ever since; today, the National Gallery houses one of the world's greatest collections of western European paintings.
The National Gallery: An Illustrated History brings together the stories behind the founding and growth of the National Gallery: the generous benefactors, the architectural controversies, the protracted acquisitions, the dedicated staff, and the visiting public.
Generously illustrated, the book aims to give insight into the history of the people and events that have helped shape this much-loved national institution.