Skip to main content

People's Portraits

Ordinary people from all walks of life

The People’s Portraits Exhibition

In 2000, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters mounted a millennial exhibition entitled People’s Portraits. The idea was to represent ordinary people from all walks of life, and thereby offer a picture of the United Kingdom as it moved from the 20th century into the 21st. The resulting collection is rich in the diversity of its subjects. The artists are all members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.

This exciting and original collection has been housed at Girton College since 2002 as a long-term loan. The concept of this exhibition chimes well with the College ethos of community and interest in art. New portraits by members of the RP are added to the collection every year, and there are now over 55 paintings in the exhibition.

Book your visit

We are pleased to announce that the People’s Portraits exhibition is now open to visitors.

In order to keep the College community and all visitors to the College safe during the current pandemic, we will initially be offering reduced visiting hours but we will aim to upscale this as and when possible.

  • The People’s Portraits exhibition will be open on Mondays to Thursdays, 2pm to 4pm
  • There will be two bookable slots each day: 2pm to 3pm; and 3pm to 4pm
  • We ask that you book a visit in advance. If you have not booked you will not be admitted.
  • Admission is free and parking is available
  • You may book for yourself and up to three further people. Children are included in this total.
  • If you book for a group of people (maximum of 4), we ask that your group arrive together and register together at the Lodge, and leave together.
  • Your details and those of your group will be kept by the Porters’ Lodge for 21 days after your visit for NHS track and trace purposes.
  • It will be possible for you and your group to purchase refreshments in the College’s cafe.
  • Please be aware we may need to cancel your appointment at short notice.

Please note that the College is a community where students, Fellows and staff live and work. We have comprehensive covid measures in place to keep everyone onsite safe [see our coronavirus information webpages]. However, when on-site you will be in shared areas, therefore, we strongly suggest that you take a lateral flow test before coming on-site. In addition, if you are considered clinically vulnerable or extremely vulnerable, you may like to postpone making your visit until a later date.


We have an activity pack for primary and secondary school age groups, and other useful information.

List of portraits displayed below (L–R) first row: Dede Cossta, Brazilian dancer by Sheldon Hutchinson; Girish Sethna, Note-Taker by Alastair Christian Adams; second row: Marc Crank by Alastair Christian Adams; The Boxer by David Caldwell.

Visiting us

Find your way to Girton College

Discover more