Hiring the National Self Portrait Gallery

I am certain, my dear cultured readers, that you have heard of the National Portrait Gallery. In fact, I have no doubt that many of you have visited it on possibly more than one occasion. Perhaps you visited when you were younger and not quite in proper awe of the gloriousness of the gallery. Perhaps you visited the National Portrait Gallery when you were older and took a foreign friend to show off our grand gallery. Regardless of when you have visited (or plan to visit), I am convinced we can all agree that the National Portrait Gallery is indeed a fine jewel in the majestic crown of our national galleries.

But I am not actually writing this to endorse the virtues of the National Portrait Gallery, which, naturally, is superior to any other portrait gallery in the world (a jest my non-British friends, a mere jest!). Providing one is in London, one can go visit the National Portrait Gallery when it suits. But how many people can boast about the astounding experience of visiting a National Self Portrait Gallery?

Here at Photo Cutouts we have so many nifty items, but one that may have been overlooked a bit is our National Self Portrait Gallery. My illustrious predecessor wrote a few blogs about this wow-factor piece; however, since it has been a little while since our spectacular self-portrait gallery was in the spotlight, I thought I would bring it to your attention again. And you are very welcome!

An eye-catching centre-piece

National Self Portrait Gallery

First – and most importantly – if you like big things, our Photo Cutouts National Self Portrait Gallery is the item for you! As we have demonstrated with some of our other pieces (see our blog of March 28 of this year) bigger is always better, and the National Self Portrait Gallery is certainly big (though in a manageable way). Second, at what other gallery can you get so close to the portraits that you are actually in the portrait? Now you have a chance to see what your portrait would look like if you were the muse for, say, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. And, third, you can immortalise said self-portrait with a push of a button on your phone. Twitter it, Instagram it, Facebook it, Snapchat it, Pinterest it…you get the idea.

Earlier this year, the students at the University of Suffolk clearly demonstrated how good their education truly is: they contacted our great team at Photo Cutouts when they wanted something amusing and unusual for their May Summer Ball. Allow me to act as your tour guide and lead you through the simple process…


The exceptionally clever students at the University of Suffolk were looking for a focal point and fun photo opportunity for their annual May Summer Ball. One of the student organisers used our online form to enquire. We included 2 wavy mirrors to compliment the visual nature of the gallery and give even more photo opportunities to guests. With availability checked and logistics sorted, the booking was completed.

Take a look at our sister company Fun4Guests to see the options that we have available to hire for events.

Or give us your brief and we will respond with a bespoke package to meet your objectives.


After all the details were sorted, we sent a team to deliver and set up the National Self-Portrait Gallery (it took about 90 minutes). The required floor space is approximately 25 to 30 square metres, which allows for ample room behind the portraits. Depending on your dimensions, our Photo Cutouts team can set up the gallery either as a faux room inside a room, or we assemble the gallery more as a long portrait wall.

THE EVENT (May Summer Ball hosted by students at the University of Suffolk)

University of Suffolk May Summer Ball

Needless to say, the students had a ball! (Yes, yes, I am aware that many of my dear readers have just rolled their eyes, but how can one not use such a fun pun?) The University of Suffolk posted some images on their social media pages, and we shared some of their merriment on our Facebook page and left us a lovely review:

“We hired the National Self Portrait Gallery and Wavy mirrors for the University of Suffolk Summer Ball experience. This was a great and really fun addition to our party and we really enjoyed it. The communication with the team prior to the party was great and the delivery and set-up at the venue ran smoothly. The team worked independently on the night which was very helpful. Thank you very much for everything!”


Once the festivities were over (that is, the following day), our team came to dismantle the gallery, and brought it back to our headquarters (that is, our office).


A jest, another jest (I am feeling rather jovial as I have been testing out some Christmas cocktails). Whilst I will not be subjecting you to an exam of how truly easy it is to hire the Photo Cutouts National Self Portrait Gallery, we should perhaps still do a quick revision:
1. Plan your event (as amazing as we are at Photo Cutouts, we really cannot do this for you).
2. Peruse Fun4Guests and/or Photo Cutouts websites to decide which of our many fun-filled options are best for you! Possibly the National Self-Portrait Gallery…
3. Contact us by phone or via email or by using our online form.
4. We deliver the goods for your party event (and provide assembly as needed).
5. You and your guests have a fantastically fun time.
6. We come to pick up the goods.
7. You post photos of frolics at your festivities, and you revel in the fact that people are in awe of your fabulous party-throwing skills!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Tel: 01284 848330
Email: office@connectedshopping.com
Online form: https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/contact.htm

Short on space…

If you don’t have the floor space for our full gallery, we now offer individual portraits as handheld selfie frames. You can still get the fun effect of putting your face into a work of art but this version is more mobile – perfect for passing around guests and no assembly required.

Mona Lisa selfie frame


Looking for a modern style…

Why not turn your event into a modern, urban, street scene with our Street Art Gallery

We’ve turned urban street art into face-in-hole boards so you can get into these famous images – literally!

Street Art Gallery

This too is available to hire as a full gallery or as individual selfie frames.

Get in touch

If you are interested in our fun photo opportunities for your next event then give the team a call. We can talk you through the options available and come up with a solution to meet your objectives, and your budget.

Tel no: 01284 848330

Email: office@connectedshopping.com


Go big with a full-size Photo Wall!

When you want to go big and make a real impact … a photo wall is the way to go.

photo wall
That’s our lead designer and board maker Jim in the middle, visibly proud of his handiwork.

What do we mean by a photo wall? Basically it’s an extra-large photo cutout board that goes beyond our standard sizes and makes for a bigger impact. Above is a pair of photo walls we made for the German Embassy in London, featuring the World Cup-winning German football teams. Guests at the event could step into the boots of star players for a photo not to be missed!

These oversized boards can dominate a function room or even an outdoor event because they are taller and wider than usual and can be seen from further away. There’s no danger of one of these getting lost in the crowd!

If your event calls for making a big visual splash, then call us on 08450 570321 for a quote on a giant photo wall!

We’ve used the concept of large boards in two other areas as well: the wedding photo wall and the National Self Portrait Gallery.

Wedding photo wall

wedding photo walll

This large board recreates a vintage living room and comes with a chest of props for guests to play about with for relaxed and genuine photo moments. There are large cutouts with picture frames for guests to be silly through. You can even hang your own photos on the rest of the wall to personalise it and make it feel like home. We even provide a chaise longue for the bride to drape herself on. It makes for some memorable wedding photos – much better than everybody standing in stiff poses!

National Self Portrait Gallery

Historical photo wall NSPG

Classic paintings from the 18th century to the present day are brought to life with a face-in-hole twist! The NSPG is a set of large photo wall boards that can be arranged like an art gallery. Here it is in use at the University of Cambridge. Your guests can become Henry VIII, the Mona Lisa, the Laughing Cavalier or a number of other famous paintings, just by putting their face in the hole! There are photo opportunities galore with the National Self Portrait Gallery, available to hire for events around the UK.

To talk to us about any of the above large boards for you next event, call 08450 570321 or email office@connectedshopping.com


Pop up art gallery a hit at Cambridge University!

face in hole art gallery portraits
The Gallery set up before the event

Our pop up face in hole portrait gallery continued its tour of the country last week with a hire at Jesus College, University of Cambridge. The event was organised by Meet Cambridge, a networking and venue-finding organisation. It was filled with event professionals who thoroughly enjoyed the pop up portrait gallery. It was a great icebreaker and made for some memorable photo opportunities.

Cambridge university face in hole pop up art gallery
It’s a bit tricky to get the head angle just right, especially when you can’t see yourself in the painting! We’re working on this. We plan to put a photo of each painting on the back of the board so that users can see which way to face.

Meet Cambridge love the gallery so much they have shared lots of photos from the event on their social media, and included it in a blog post about using social media at events.

How to use social media at events


National Self Portrait Gallery in Cambridge
People just can’t help themselves.
Cambridge University National Self Portrait Gallery
Fun fun fun – and a few conspiratorial looks between historical royalty!

We call it the National Self Portrait Gallery, as a tribute to the selfie craze. It would be quite hard to actually take a selfie when you’re in the picture, but you can always use the timer on your camera, or one of those selfie drones. Most people are content to have their photo taken by someone else. And of course it’s such an unusual thing to have your face in a classic portrait. That’s what makes the photos so good for social media sharing.

We’re very pleased the National Self Portrait Gallery created a buzz at Meet Cambridge’s event. Where will it pop up next? That would be telling! But you’ll surely read about it here.

To find out more about hiring it for your own event, drop us a line at office@connectedshopping.com or call 08450 570321 and ask for Jim or Shelley.

Dress up as your ancestors – or someone else’s ancestors

ancestors portrait reconstruction

In a fascinating news story recently, it was revealed that an artist from Peru likes to dress up as his ancestors (both male and female) in painstaking photographic reproductions of his old family portraits. It seems he is obsessed with his noble lineage and so proud of it that he goes to great lengths to recreate historic oil portraits of his forebears, with himself playing the central role.

He probably hasn’t heard of face in hole boards. He could have had the portraits printed onto board, cut out the faces, applied some careful makeup and put his face in the hole to mimic his ancestors. But he’s clearly such a perfectionist that he feels it necessary to recreate the whole painting. Fair enough. It takes all sorts.

The National Self Portrait Gallery is based on a similar idea. We haven’t managed to actually track down the descendants of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and the model who sat for the Mona Lisa and get them to pose in reproductions of the famous paintings, but the face in hole format gives anyone the chance to step into historic portraits!

Let’s play spot the difference. Here is Peruvian artist Christian Fuchs posing as his great-great-great-great grandfather next to the original painting:

face in hole portrait

And here’s an event attendee posing as The Laughing Cavalier in one of the panels of the National Self Portrait Gallery, our pop-up face in hole art gallery:

dress up as your ancestors

Can you see the join where his head goes through the hole? No, neither can we! Perfect isn’t it?

The National Self Portrait Gallery consists of several panels of four or five portraits with the faces cut out and a space behind for guests to stand and put their faces through the holes. Hey presto – they become historical figures! Friends and other guests can snap away with their cameras or smartphones and get the results on Instagram, Pinterest or wherever they like.

To find out more about the National Self Portrait Gallery, visit http://www.photocutouts.co.uk/pop-up-art-gallery.htm

To hire the NSPG, call 08450 570 321 or email office@connectedshopping.com