Top 5

Top 5 Family Portraits

Families! They can be annoying or the best people in the world. Let's look at some different family portraits from Tate's collection.

1. Goodbye

Christopher Wood, ‘The Fisherman’s Farewell’ 1928
Christopher Wood
The Fisherman’s Farewell 1928

This is a portrait of a fisherman saying goodbye to his wife and child on the beach. He might be leaving for the day or going away for a long time. The stormy skies make the sea look a bit chilly!

2. Story time

Rachel Whiteread, ‘Storytime’ 2008
Rachel Whiteread
Storytime 2008
© Rachel Whiteread

Families can come in all sizes and they can do lots of different activities together.

A family might be your parents or siblings or a group of friends. What story do you think this family of toys are listening to? Do you like to read stories as a family or with your friends?

3. At home with the cat

Sunil Gupta, ‘Roger & Steve, London’ 1984, printed 2018
Sunil Gupta
Roger & Steve, London 1984, printed 2018
© Sunil Gupta

This is a photo of Roger, Steve and their cat. The photographer, Sunil Gupta, took this as part of a series of family portraits of gay couples in long term relationships.

Do you have a pet at home? Would they stay still enough for a family photograph?

4. Family photos

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, ‘Predecessors’ 2013
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Predecessors 2013
© Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Photo credit: Sylvain Deleu.

In her paintings, American artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby uses old family photographs. She grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and now lives in Los Angeles in the U.S. Can you see where she's used collaged bits of old photographs in this painting? They make up the shadows and line the walls.

How else could you use family photos in an artwork about your family?

5. Grandparents

John Michael Wright, ‘Portrait of Mrs Salesbury with her Grandchildren Edward and Elizabeth Bagot’ 1675–6
John Michael Wright
Portrait of Mrs Salesbury with her Grandchildren Edward and Elizabeth Bagot 1675–6

This is a painting that is nearly 350 years old. Mrs Salesbury is the grandmother of the two children in the painting. Do you like hanging out with your grandparents? Would they be in your family portrait?