Mobile menu

Windrush: Portraits of a Pioneering Generation

Portraits of Alford Gardner, Professor Sir Godfrey (Geoff) Palmer and Jessie Stephens.
Portraits of Alford Gardner, Professor Sir Godfrey (Geoff) Palmer and Jessie Stephens. ©Chloe Cox, Derek Fordjour & Sahara Longe. Photograph- Royal Collection Trust ©His Majesty King Charles III 2023

National Portrait Gallery [London]

  • Next event: Tuesday, 5 Mar 2024
    Daily (Monday, 9 Oct 2023 - Monday, 1 Apr 2024)
  • Adults, Groups (15+ people)

This exhibition features ten portraits of members of the Windrush Generation. The portraits have been commissioned by His Majesty The King, to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush on the shores of mainland Britain on 22 June 1948.

The portraits will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery from 9 October 2023 to 1 April 2024. The portraits were first on display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh.

These early pioneers who left their homelands and all that was familiar to them, and the generations who followed them, worked hard to rebuild a country emerging from the ravages of the Second World War and were key to the development of essential infrastructure, including health and transport services. These remarkable people, who showed resilience and pride throughout their lives, represent the positive impact of diversity across Britain.

Introducing a BBC documentary on the portraits, His Majesty The King, says:

It is, I believe, crucially important that we should truly see and hear these pioneers who stepped off the Empire Windrush at Tilbury in June 1948 - only a few months before I was born - and those who followed over the decades, to recognise and celebrate the immeasurable difference that they, their children and their grandchildren have made to this country.


The sitters and artists are:

Delisser Bernard by artist Honor Titus

Alford Gardner by artist Chloe Cox

Linda Haye, OBE by artist Shannon Bono

Edna Henry by artist Amy Sherald

Carmen Esme Munroe, OBE by artist Sonia Boyce OBE, RA

Gilda Oliver by artist Clifton Powell

Professor Sir Godfrey (Geoff) Palmer, OBE, CD by artist Derek Fordjour

Laceta Reid by artist Serge Attukwei Clottey

John (Big John) Richards by artist Deanio X

Jessie Stephens, MBE, SLPM by artist Sahara Longe

The Windrush Portraits Committee, made up of Baroness Floella Benjamin, OM, DBE, the Right Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, MBE, Mr Rudolph Walker, CBE and Ms Paulette Simpson, CBE, helped to find the sitters for the portraits from a range of backgrounds and locations across the UK. 

Royal Collection Trust, Royal Drawing School and The Open University collaborated to design an education programme to celebrate the contribution of the Windrush Generation, including downloadable teaching resources for schools and live drawing workshops.

The Portraits

BBC documentary 

A BBC Arts documentary Windrush: Portraits of a Generation with His Majesty The King, was broadcast on BBC Two and is available on iPlayer to commemorate National Windrush Day on 22 June 2023.

Windrush: Portraits of a Generation @BBC

Map & directions

St. Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE