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Image searches
Digital image files
Using our images and calculating prices
Technical and privacy issues 


Are all the images in the Picture Library available?
All images on the website are available to download as high resolution digital files. There are about 50 paintings out of the whole collection for which we do not have digital files readily available. We plan to gradually upload these as the images do become available.

How do I register with the Picture Library website?
To register with us click on the word REGISTER. Fill in your account details, your chosen password and preferences and then press SAVE. You will be returned to the home page and will be logged in with your personal settings. Each time you visit the site, login with your email address and password.

I’ve forgotten my password - how do I find out what it is?
If you forget your password you can request a reminder to be sent to you by e-mail by clicking on ‘Forgotten your password?’ on the login page.

May I reproduce or make available images of paintings in the National Gallery without permission from the Picture Library?
No, you must seek permission through the Picture Library.

How do I obtain permission to use pictures from the National Gallery, London?
To obtain permission to use the pictures on this site select your images, price them and complete the CHECKOUT PROCESS.

How should I credit pictures from The National Gallery of London Picture Library?
Please give the artist’s name, the painting title and use the copyright symbol and the following wording: © The National Gallery, London. Any additional credits required, such as acquisition credits, will be stated on the invoice/license.

Can I take photographs inside The National Gallery?
Photography is not allowed during gallery opening hours but special photography sessions can be arranged when the gallery is closed. There is a fee for this service, please contact the Picture Library for more details.

How do I arrange filming inside The National Gallery?
Please send an initial email explaining in brief the type of project/dates/crew size and expected time scale to making sure you put FILMING in the subject box.

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Image searches

How do I search?
To use the SEARCH function type the word or words you are looking for into the search box then click on SEARCH. If your search is unsuccessful try using the thesaurus results, if returned, use another word or use the ADVANCED SEARCH.

My search produced a list of results from a thesaurus - why is this?
When a search produces no results we have implemented a thesaurus to suggest similar words with matches against the paintings in case a word you typed could be expressed using a similar term. In some cases these results can produce the desired set of images you are looking for.

How do I use the advanced search?
To use the ADVANCED SEARCH function click on ADVANCED SEARCH. The advanced search box will appear on the right hand side of the screen. Type in your search words and then adjust the search fields and options to suit your search. Click on SEARCH to find your results. See the “tips and tricks” in the search box itself for further details.

Does the search engine recognise accented characters?
The search engine will accept accented characters but you do not need to type them in for your search to find the correct results. The search engine has been customised to check accented characters in substitution for characters in your typed text in case there is a match available.

Why can't I find the images I'm searching for?
The painting you are searching for may be on long term loan elsewhere or may be on loan to the National Gallery from another collection and not be part of its permanent collection. If you have a particular query please contact us for further information.

Can I search without being registered?
Yes you can, but by registering you will have the ability to create your own lighboxes and download digital images.

How are the images placed on the timeline – what date is being used?
The date used is the date evidence suggests a painting was completed.

Where did the information come from that I can see beside each image in the Image View screen?
The information came from the National Gallery’s website but if you need to be sure it is the most up-to-date available, go back to the main National Gallery site to check.

How were the images grouped into Subjects, Themes, Styles etc.?
These categories have been created to help image users with a selection of ideas, they were not planned to be fully comprehensive and are not based on any groups used by the National Gallery.

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I want to use lightboxes, how do I set them up?
First you need to be registered (if you are not already, go to the Register button and fill in your details) and logged in. Go to the Lightbox tab and press OPEN. Then click the NEW option, insert the name of the lightbox and press CREATE. To start using it, select the name from the drop-down menu and press OPEN

How do I add images to my lightbox?
To place pictures in the light box select the picture you want and then select ADD TO LIGHT BOX. The image will appear within your light box on the right hand side of the screen and will be saved to your login settings. You will also see a message to confirm the image has been added.

I don’t want to use lightboxes, how do I close the administration sidebar?
On the sidebar at the top right-hand side there is a ‘CLOSE’ button, clicking on this will remove the administration sidebar. If you require it at any time later just click on one of the tabs above the area where the administration bar is shown and it will reappear.

Can I create more than one light box?
Yes, you can have multiple light boxes. To create a new light box select the tab LIGHT BOX then select NEW. Type the name of your new light box in the space provided then click on CREATE. Your new light box will be created and can be accessed by clicking on the down arrow in the box in which the name of the current light box is displayed, selecting the new lightbox and clicking ENTER.

 Can I send my light box to my publisher?

Yes, it is possible for you to send a lightbox to a third party.  They will not however be able to alter it.


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Digital image files

How do I download images once I have purchased them?
You can save an image when you finish the checkout process and proceed to the download screen. You will then have the option of downloading the different image file sizes. You can just click on the file and follow the onscreen instructions. Downloadable image files will be available for you to download for three weeks from point of order from your Purchase History.

In what form do your images come?
Images can be downloaded as JPEGs, or can be sent to you as a digital file on disc as a TIFF. There will be a service fee to provide any image not delivered on-line.

How large can I print your digital images?
The maximum size for reproduction of an image is A3.

What if I want to reproduce at higher sizes/resolutions than the files allow?
The files provided have been made available to fit most requirements yet still allowing an acceptable download time. However we understand that on occasion it may be necessary to supply other files. If you require alternative files please advise us and we will try to help you with your exact requirements. There may be additional charges for files that are not generally available for download on the site.

How can I download an image I've previously purchased and will I be charged again for re-downloading it?
If you are using the same image in the same project the secondary uses will be discounted by 50% on the smaller purchases. You will need to order the same image twice or more in the same order and price each separately.

The image on the website does not have a picture frame around it but the file I was delivered does – why is this?
The images shown on the website are mostly cropped images that have the frames or edges of the paintings removed from the image. When the paintings were photographed they were in general removed from the frame to show as much of the painting as possible however some of the images were too big to remove from their frames and some may have been damaged if removed from the frame. The images we supply for download show as much of the painting as possible to allow you to decide on the crop you require, they also show colour bars and greyscales which will aid you in reproduction.

If I can't get an image to download, what other options do I have?
Contact us, we may be able to help advise you how to complete the download or there might be a fault with the system. If that fails we can supply images on a CD as JPEGs or TIFFs. To order images, please complete our Picture Library request form.

What if you don’t have high resolution digital files in stock?
Our standard size digital files of any image on the website will always be available to download. We can produce a non-standard digital image, such as a Tiff version on CD within 2 working days.

How do I retain the original quality of an image when I want to enlarge it?
To ensure the digital image you are requesting is of a size suited to your reproduction needs, check the Availibility box on the image view screen. Please contact us directly if you are still not clear.

How do I save an image to my computer?
You can save the low resolution image displayed on the site by right clicking and selecting ‘Save Picture As’ or by passing your cursor over the image and left-clicking on the ‘save’ icon that appears in the top left of the image. 

How long does it take to download an image?


Speed of Connection Low Res 72dpi 250KB A5 file 5MB A4 file 10MB A3 file 20MB
Dial-Up 56kb/s 36s 13min 25min 50min
Broadband 512kb/s 4s 1min 30s 3min 6min
Broadband 2Mb/s 1s 25s 45s 3min
These speeds are only estimates assuming good internet connectivity. Times may vary depending on the number of concurrent users/processes using the connection. The files for each of the sizes provided are averages, some files may be smaller or larger than the size quoted.


What is your return policy?
On completion of your project all digital images received from us must be deleted and not stored for future use (please see our Terms and Conditions).You should return CDs we have supplied on loan.

Why do some of the images look dark?
The images have been produced as accurately as possible to represent the original paintings. Some of the paintings are very old and in time have become discoloured or damaged and will not look as they were intended when first painted. We have tried to produce an image as close as we can to the painting when photographed without making it look more appealing to the viewer as it is impossible to tell how the image is to be used. Work can be carried out on the digital images by the end user if a certain alteration is required.  

Can my publisher download the files?

If you supply your login details to your publisher they will be able to go into your account and download the files.  However we would suggest that you download and save the files yourself and then forward them to your publisher.

I want you to invoice the publisher, not me, but I’m downloading the files.

If you wish to download and pay by credit card immediately then the invoice will automatically go to the address details that you give on registering.  If you set up a credit account, and then pend the invoice, and then contact us immediately with the publisher’s details, then we can amend the delivery address.  However, all reminders and statements will still go to your e-mail address.   If you wish all the invoices, statements and reminders to go to the publisher, then you must ask the publisher to set up an account that you can use on their behalf.   We can usually cancel a posted invoice and then create a new invoice but this would incur a service fee.  

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Using our images and calculating prices

How much does it cost to receive and reproduce an image?
The cost for permission to reproduce an image varies depending on several factors. To calculate the cost of the images select an image and then click on CALCULATE PRICE and enter the details of your specific reproduction. Your request will be processed immediately. CALCULATE PRICE can be accessed both before and after you place items into the CART. If the use you need is not covered in the options provided, please contact us.

Do I need to register to purchase?
To purchase images and reproduction rights you must register on the Picture Library Website.

What if I'm not ready to purchase the image yet?
Priced images will remain in the bottom section of your cart, you can return to them, edit the cart and proceed to the checkout when you are ready

What if I don’t see the reproduction rights I need?
Our price calculator has been designed to cater for a variety of standard image usages but more complex and uncommon requests may require consultation. If the image rights you require cannot be seen online then you should contact the Picture Library to discuss your requirements further.

What if I want to download an image but don't yet know all of the use details? Can I download the image and pend payment of the invoice?
You must have a calculated price before downloading any images. Please supply details about the proposed use as accurately as possible at this stage and we will estimate the reproduction fee based on those. If you are an account holder, you can pend payment until all details of the use are known and the final price can be calculated accordingly.

Can I cancel my reproduction rights after I have purchased them?
You may cancel your reproduction rights unless a payment has already been processed – in that situation a cancellation fee of £50 will be charged to cover administration.

How do I pay for my image rights?
We accept payments by VISA and Mastercard along with some UK local debit cards such as Switch, Maestro and Solo. It is also possible to pay via credit account for which you will receive an invoice - this service is only available on successful application for a credit account (you can request an upgrade to a standard user account by completing the details required in the account section once you have logged in).

What if I have additional uses for an image?
The Picture Library does not allow material previously purchased to be stored for another project. If additional use is requested for the same project, you must seek and have permission cleared in advance.

How do I use the shopping cart?
To use the SHOPPING CART find the images you need and then click on, ADD TO CART. The image will be immediately added to your cart and be ready for checkout.

What currencies can I use to pay?
You can currently pay in GBP. If you pay via credit card, your card company will convert the GBP amount into your local currency at their prevailing rate.

Will I have to pay tax?
All invoices to UK addresses will have VAT added to our charges. The rate is currently 20%. All invoices to addresses outside the EU will not include any tax. All invoices to EC business clients who provide us with their tax number or of the business for which they are working will not have tax added. Where no VAT number is provided by, an EU user, we will add tax at the UK rate.

How safe is it to use my credit card on your site?
When connecting to our site any sensitive data will be encrypted so that nobody can intercept and read your information as it travels to or from our server. When using a computer to send any confidential information you should always ensure that you have a properly configured firewall between your computer and the Internet, up-to-date anti-virus software and up-to-date anti-spyware software to keep your information private.

What are the restrictions on the use of images?
All of our images are Rights Managed which means all content is licensed for specific prearranged usages. The usage fees are based on the usage requested. If the image is to be manipulated i.e. cropped or over-written you must contact the Picture Library directly and send us a mock up version of the request for our prior approval.

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Technical and privacy issues

How do I calibrate my screen to view the images as they are intended to be seen?
There are many software and hardware devices available to calibrate your screen so that you see our images as they were intended – it is in general good practice to regularly re-calibrate your screen when using digital images so that you view them correctly. For further information please see our image information page. If you require assistance in calibrating your screen speak to your IT service provider.

How do you protect the privacy of the information I submit to you?
Please read our privacy and security policy.

Which browsers are compatible with this site?
The latest versions of Netscape Navigator, Microsoft's Internet Explorer, AOL's browser, Firefox, Opera and Safari.

What screen resolution should I use?
Your screen reseolution should be 1024x768 pixels or greater to view the site properly.

Do I need to be able to make a secure connection to your site?
When connecting to our site any sensitive data will be encrypted so that nobody can intercept and read your information as it travels to or from our server. When using a computer to send any confidential information you should always ensure that you have a properly configured firewall between your computer and the Internet, up-to-date anti-virus software and up-to-date anti-spyware software to keep your information private.  

I want to give my publisher access to the downloadable files but I don’t want to give them access to my National Gallery Picture Library account.  What should I do?

If you do not wish to supply your login details to your publisher so that they can go into your account and download the files, then we suggest that you download and save the files yourself and then forward them to your publisher.   Alternatively you could ask your publisher’s IT department to set up a picture researcher e-mail account on their company server, i.e. pictureresearcher@[name of company].com.  You could then register on our website using that e-mail address and the publisher’s address for that company’s projects only.  It would then be possible for you to inform the publisher of the password so that you can share access to that account.  

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Scholarly Waiver

Do I need to register to be able to download images, even for a lecture?

Yes, we cannot supply files or permissions until you register and submit an application. You only have to register once but an application is required for each project.

If I am eligible for the scholarly waiver, what sizes of digital files will I be provided access to download?

You will be provided access to A5 sized files. This is the maximum size available for the scholarly waiver. Larger sizes are available to download (e.g. A4 or A3) however there are associated costs.

Can I obtain a file on CD or as a TIFF?

Our standard format is a JPEG. Images supplied with the scholarly waiver will be in our standard format i.e. JPEG files. These are uncompressed so the quality and resolution are equal to that of TIFFs.

If you require material in special formats such as on a CD or as a TIFF, they are available however they are not subject to the waiver and there will be associated costs.

Can I reproduce details of a painting from the provided digital file?

Yes, but only if the detail is larger than 25% of the whole image. If you require a smaller detail, you can request a specially made digital file. There are service fees and standard reproduction fees for this option.

Can I obtain files of non-standard images, for example loan paintings, National Gallery paintings in their frames, x-rays, infra-reds, or conservation material?

Non-standard images are not available under the Scholarly Waiver scheme but are available if required. If these types of images are required as part your scholarly project, separate permission will need to be cleared. Please e-mail the Picture Library with the full details. Standard service and reproduction fees will be charged.

Please note that permission is not always granted for the use of special material, and it can take some time to clear permission. We advise you to contact us as early as possible when seeking permission for this type of material.

I have seen the image I want in a NG catalogue/book but it’s not on the Picture Library website. What do I do?

Please check the National Gallery website to see if the painting belongs to the National Gallery. If the image is not on the website but the book was published by the National Gallery, London, please e-mail the book title, author, publication date, page number and figure/catalogue number to help us identify the image.  Please note, only images available on the Picture Library website are eligible for the scholarly waiver.

How do I qualify for the Scholarly Waiver?

This waiver is intended for projects in which the scholar is personally responsible for paying reproduction fees and is not available to commercial organisations.We consider a project to be scholarly when its primary intention is to broaden knowledge and when it is based on original research.

Exclusions (Not eligible for Scholarly Waiver)

         Cover or online

         Print runs over 1,500 for books and 2,500 for journals (first editions)


         New work (e.g. required image files do not exist or from archive)

If I do not qualify for the Scholarly Waiver, are there any other discounts available?

Yes, we can sometimes grant discounts for non-commercial projects with a low print run. Also, if you are using a number of our images in a project or book, then we can usually grant a bulk discount.

Why do I need to calculate the price before downloading even though I am not being charged for the rights?

The National Gallery assesses eligibility for Scholarly Waivers on a project by project basis. To make our assessment, we require much of the same information as if you were applying for commercial usage e.g. size and print run. The price that appears is the commercial rate for usage; it will be waived in full if the project is approved.

Online applications must be submitted to qualify for the scheme.

Can I download a digital file and obtain the academic discount if I don’t know what rights I need yet?

Unfortunately not, we can only grant the scholarly waiver to projects that meet specific criteria (please see above). Please e-mail the Picture Library with as much information as possible and we will then assess the approximate fees and get back to you with a quotation.

I wish to use an image in a scholarly journal but it is an online journal, or the image will be used on the journal’s website. Do I still qualify for the scholarly waiver?

The scholarly waiver is available for printed journals only. Please e-mail the Picture Library with as much information as possible. We will then assess any fees and get back to you with a quotation.

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