Preview: see high society

THE RECENT rediscovery of several large collections of original negatives taken by three leading studios of the Edwardian era (Lafayette, H Walter Barnett and Bassano) have inspired a lavish new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, from 30 January. Camera technology had developed to such an extent by the end of the 19th-century that society figures were frequent visitors at fashionable photographers' studios to pose against stylised backgrounds and receive a flattering portrait more quickly than traditional painted mediums. The exhibition is divided into five sections, including one devoted to portraits of the guests in elaborate fancy dress at the famous Devonshire House Ball, held to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and another section concentrating on prominent female personalities of the reign, including one Lillie Langtry (left).

NPG, St Martin's Place, WC2 (0171-306 0055) 30 Jan-21 Jun