Children and families can take their seat alongside the famous in a national competition from Ancestry and the National Portrait Gallery

Families up and down the country are being asked to submit their family photos to ‘The Nation’s Family Album’, an initiative from Ancestry and the National Portrait Gallery.

Entrants to this special competition are being asked to upload family portraits. These will be judged by a panel of experts comprising Royal and family portrait photographer Millie Pilkington (a regular photographer for Absolutely Education) baritone Peter Brathwaite, National Portrait Gallery’s Chief Curator Dr Alison Smith, and family history expert Simon Pearce from Ancestry.

Ancestry and National Portrait Gallery have been collaborating to create an online gallery of over 125,000 portraits, ranging from kings and queens down the ages to nurses and architects, and spanning over 400 years of history. This is available to browse for free on Ancestry, and now it wants lots more photos to add to this unique national collection.

National treasures / Ancestry and National Portrait Gallery portrait competition
You can enter up to three portraits to the Ancestry and National Portrait Gallery competition – the aim is to capture the nation

Themes of belonging

The portraits families are being asked to submit need to fit in with the project’s themes, which are: Belonging, Legacy, Connection & Identity. The successful entries will have the opportunity to see their family images and stories included in a digital exhibition, as well as being displayed in the National Portrait Gallery itself when it reopens in 2023 after a major redevelopment.

The competition is seeking undiscovered gems – portraits of everyday people of different backgrounds, ages and cultures in the UK. So, this is a great opportunity for children and families to delve through old albums, turn out those suitcases in the attic and even submit favourites from the mantelpiece. Each person entering may submit up to three portraits.

A national record

Ancestry and National Portrait gallery believe The Nation’s Family Album will become an important record of our collective history, as it will highlight, celebrate and capture rich and diverse family stories, making it easier for future generations to find out more about their own family history and the nation’s rich history. 

Photos must be uploaded by Thursday 30 June 2022 and anyone in the UK may submit a maximum of three images that relate to the following themes: Belonging, Legacy, Connection and Identity. Photographer Millie Pilkington says: “Every photograph has a story to tell, but what I look for in particular are images that capture the spirit of the sitter, or the moment, and that provide some kind of ‘biographical’ insight to their personality and background.  And the icing on the cake is when these are achieved with nice light in an interesting composition.  I’m genuinely excited to discover the multitude of unique and fascinating family history stories within the entries”.

New National Portrait Gallery X Ancestry Copy
Winning images will become part of an amazing archive through time and may be exhibited at the NPG

How to enter

* Submissions must be uploaded by Thursday 30 June 2022.

* Any person in the UK can submit up to three images

* Images should follow the themes: Belonging, Legacy, Connection and Identity

* To enter, visit