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National Portrait Gallery Launches New Website with Virtual Gallery Tour 'Behind the Scenes' Access
National Portrait Gallery Website © National Portrait Gallery, London / Cogapp.

LONDON.- The National Portrait Gallery launches its newly redesigned website offering exciting facilities, greater interactivity and fascinating glimpses of the Gallery's work behind the scenes. The site, which has been redeveloped in partnership with digital media company Cogapp, now provides a first-class experience for the site's 16 million visitors a year. The overall result has been to make the site more intuitive and easier to use.

Visitors can now see 120,000 of the Gallery's portraits listed online, and images now appear on screens four times bigger than their previous size. It is possible to zoom in to portraits in order to see the smallest of details and also to identify all sitters in group portraits. Visitors can now browse the Collection, in a range of new ways, such as a room-by-room listing of all the portraits on display.

It also provides access to content not normally seen by the public such as all the Gallery's private papers and holdings relating to sitters, artists, photographers and portraits. This ranges from preparatory material for Andrew Tift's portrait of Neil and Glenys Kinnock, Kit-Kat Club account books, G F Watts letters, Dorothy Wilding's studio ledger and sitter books and the letters of artist Humphrey Ocean describing the process of meeting and painting Tony Benn.

Visitors can also access the latest conservation material relating to the Gallery's Making Art in Tudor Britain project detailing research on key paintings from the Gallery's Collections.

For the first time, an events calendar on the homepage allows visitors to see at a glance which exhibitions, displays or events are taking place on any particular day or range of days for up to several months ahead. It is possible now to find out, with a single click, everything that is happening at the Gallery, as well as activities beyond the Gallery on any one day. Additionally, visitors can select material according to their interest such as films, youth programmes, workshops or family activities.

Interaction with the Gallery's website in terms of online shopping, purchasing new memberships and making renewals, online donations and applications to the BP Portrait Award and Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize have been made easier through the introduction of secure online payment using WorldPay and streamlined processes. The redesign allows shop pages and shopping links to appear wherever visitors find themselves in the Collection pages - from Henry VIII to David Hockney.

For the first time all information about a portrait - for example, where to see it, where to obtain a print, where to learn more about it - is intuitively interlinked.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: 'The website is a wonderful and critical part of the National Portrait Gallery's future. This is an excellent step forward.'

Rachael Rainbow, Project Manager for Cogapp, says: 'We have been delighted to build on our existing long-term relationship with the National Portrait Gallery and work with them to deliver a world-class website which puts the needs of their users first and foremost - and places their incredible collection of portraits, front and centre.'

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