One of the major collections belonging to the Bielsko museum comprises portraits displayed in the second part of the corridor running alongside the rooms in the south wing of the Sułkowski castle. The canvasses were painted over a period of 147 years. This allows visitors to follow the changes which took place in the manner of depiction of men and women, from highly formal images to incredibly intense ones in terms of psychological interpretation. The portraits, so rich in their detail of clothing, jewellery and hair styles, provide marvellous iconographic material demonstrating how fashion, behaviour and tradition changed over the century. The oldest work is Portrait of a Jacobin, painted in 1800, while the most recent is that of Portrait of the Painter Franciszek Dudziak from 1947, painted by Jan Chwierut. Of the paintings created in the first half of the 19th century, of great merit is Portrait of a Woman in a Cap by successful Silesian portraitist, Józef Edward August Gillern. Many of these portraits present anonymous, unidentified figures, although there are various people among them associated with Bielsko and Biała in the 19th and early 20th centuries. These include images of members of the local industrial elite, e.g. Dawid Benjamin Grunewald – the owner of a broadcloth factory in Bielsko and Biała; Adolf Mänhardt – the owner of a coarse upholstery factory in Bielsko, painted in 1889 by Rosa Schweninger; Josef Brüll – the owner of a broadcloth spinning mill in Biała, painted by Mikołaj Strzegocki; Gustaw Adolf Molenda – an industrialist from Bielsko, painted in 1912 by Kazimierz Pochwalski; and master engineer Büttner, painted in 1927 by Józef Kidoń, an artist born in Cieszyn Silesia. There are also portraits of representatives of the local authorities, e.g. mayor of Biała, Rudolf Lukas, and Edward Schnack, a master sweep, long-term curator of the Municipal Museum in Bielsko, and a member of the Bilitia Schlaraffia Association.
From the perspective of painting techniques, the most interesting works include: Portrait of Architect Bartkiewicz, painted in 1840 by Jozef Mánes from a Prague family, living in Cieszyn; Portrait of a Woman, 1905, painted by Kasper Żelechowski; two, contrastive in their composition, portraits of a married couple called Sajewiczów, 1932, created by an artist from Lwów (today’s Lviv), Ryszard Gawlikowski; and Portrait of a Friend as an Army Recruit, painted by Maria Dulębianka, an ardent women’s rights activist, Maria Konopnicka’s closest friend and promotor of her literary works.