Boulevard Arts Launches its Augmented Reality App, Featuring Beloved Tudor Portrait from the National Portrait Gallery, London

New York, NY March 29th, 2018 – Today Boulevard Arts debuts its first augmented reality app, Boulevard AR, available for hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads. This groundbreaking app lets the user delve into the Portrait of Sir Henry Unton, one of the most celebrated paintings in the National Portrait Gallery’s world-renowned Tudor collection. Millions of people around the world can download this portrait and now, for the first time, with Apple’s ARKit 1.5, hang it on a wall in their home, office or classroom to experience it life-size with all of its rich and peculiar Elizabethan detail.

In this highly unusual painting, the life story of Sir Henry Unton, a soldier, member of Parliament and British Ambassador to France is revealed through nine unique scenes which surround a central portrait of this distinguished member of the Court of Queen Elizabeth I. Partnering closely with the National Portrait Gallery in London, Boulevard Arts offers this as its first publicly available AR release exploring major themes in art, history and culture.

With ARKit 1.5, Unton’s portrait can be placed on the wall when using a device running iOS 11.3. It can also be placed on an easel when using a device running previous versions of iOS 11. Users are introduced to the painting and its subject by Charlotte Bolland, London’s National Portrait Gallery’s 16th Century Collections Curator. By positioning the iPhone and iPad and tapping on the screen, the nine sections of the painting can be individually activated and explored. This ‘expansion’ mode allows for user-driven close-up looking and learning, as the Curator discusses and shares background stories, highlights and details about the politics of the time, Unton’s own interpersonal relationships, and Tudor conventions. Elizabethan music contributes to our heightened sense of the period, as does the particular focus on a dramatic courtly pageant, known as a Masque, notably the only-known existing representation of the performance of an Elizabethan Masque.

“The National Portrait Gallery, London is delighted to be part of this exciting partnership with Boulevard Arts, which will allow audiences all over the world to engage with our fascinating portrait of Sir Henry Unton,” Charlotte Bolland said. “The Gallery seeks to use pioneering new technologies to share our Collection and it is wonderful that augmented reality can provide a new way to explore the painting and its unique viewpoint of life in Elizabethan England.”

Harnessing the latest iOS capabilities, Boulevard AR provides students, lifelong-learners, and art and tech enthusiasts alike the opportunity to connect the past to the future, by making Tudor history come alive outside the Gallery.

Boulevard AR is now available for $2.99 in the App Store.


About Boulevard

Boulevard brings art, architecture, and culture to people around the world. Partnering with leading museums and cultural sites, Boulevard revolutionizes the way the world looks at the arts. With 21st-century innovation and dynamic content, Boulevard is reshaping the landscape of storytelling and bringing history to life for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

For the latest from Boulevard, please visit, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

About National Portrait Gallery, London 

The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 to encourage through portraiture the appreciation and understanding of the people who have made and are making British history and culture. Today it promotes engagement with portraiture in all media to a wide-ranging public by conserving, growing and sharing the world’s largest collection of portraits. The Gallery, located just off Trafalgar Square, holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. With over 1000 portraits on display across three floors, from Elizabeth I to David Beckham, the Gallery has something for everyone. Artists featured range from Holbein to Hockney, and the Collection includes work across all media, from painting and sculpture to photography and video. As well as the permanent displays, the Gallery has a diverse and ever-changing programme of exhibitions and events that promote an understanding and appreciation of portraiture in all forms.

Follow National Portrait Gallery on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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