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Housing masterpieces by Holbein, Hilliard, Oliver and Cooper, the new gallery – situated between the Paintings Galleries opened in 2003 and the Jewellery Gallery scheduled to open in 2008 – will display 140 paintings from the national collection tracing the development in Britain from the Tudor period to the 19th century, and the rise of photography.

The Portrait Miniatures Gallery is part of the V&A’s ten-year plan to transform its space and collection with new galleries and displays.