ARt Galleries In London
Get on the art trail with a visit to some of London’s
finest galleries and most beautiful buildings.
Your first port of call should be The National Gallery
Trafalgar Square, London, WC2. On the doorstep of one
of London’s top tourist attractions The National
Gallery is home to an astounding collection of paintings,
sculpture and pottery. This is the definitive art museum.
From Raphael to Albrecht Dürer, there’s a range
of international artists and an-ever changing programme
For modern and contemporary art check out The Institute
of Contemporary Arts [map] (ICA), based at Carlton House Terrace, The Mall, SW1.
Here you’ll find a huge arts centre housing everything
that’s good about art including media installations,
modern exhibitions and a large educational programme.
Having undergone a major refurbishment The Barbican
Centre Art Gallery [map],
Silk Street, EC2, is now an impressive space offering
interesting exhibits from graphic design artists, and
a range of talks and workshops.
In West London your first port of call should be the Royal
Academy of Arts [map].
This world-famous venue located at Burlington House, Piccadilly,
W1, has always been one of London’s most important
The Architecture Gallery at the Royal Institute
of British Architects [map],
Portland Place, Westminster, W1, has a series on exhibitions
that look at design through the ages. This fascinating
glimpse into the past offers visitors something interesting
and unique, plus there’s the opportunity to wander
around the fantastic 1930s building which is, in itself,
an example of magnificent architecture.
In a Georgian building on Canonbury Square in North London
you will find a unique artistic offering – the Estorick
Collection of Modern Italian Art [map].
This is the only museum in the country to focus on Italian
art of the 20th century and is renowned for its collection
of Futurist work.
Before the multimillion-pound facelift, the arts-eye view
of the East End of London evoked images of struggling
artists and life loving hippies, now the area has been
transformed into a focal point for creatives.
The premier showcasing space in east London is the Whitechapel
E1. Established in the late 19th century this gallery
houses work by a number of artists over the years including
Pollock, Lucian and Hockney.
The 291 Gallery [map],
E2, is one of London’s most impressive galleries.
The building itself is a refurbished Neo-Gothic church
and has spaces for contemporary art of all kinds –
from paintings to digital arts to live performances. It
is one of the few independently funded Public Art Galleries
in the area.
If you’re starting out on the art appreciation trail,
head to The Dulwich Picture Gallery [map],
Gallery Road, SE21. This gallery is home to an outstanding
collection of 17th century old masters and includes famous
works from Rembrandt, Murillo, Rubens, Watteau and Gainsborough,
as well as a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions
that take place throughout the year.
The Southbank is awash with excellent art. Choose from
the famous Tate Modern [map] for some of the hot exhibitions that everybody is talking
about or pop into the Tate’s nearest rival, The
Saatchi Gallery [map],
County Hall, Belvedere Road, SE1, for the latest top designers
and modern artists.
Experience the gentle world of watercolour at The Bankside
Hopton Street, Southwark, SE1. This gallery is home to
the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of
Painter-Printmakers so visitors can expect an eclectic
range of exhibitions from two of the oldest societies
of their kind in the world.
Visit the Tate Modern’s big brother at Millbank,
SW1. Tate Britain [map] reflects the changing face of British art with exhibitions
and installations from more than 600 years of cultural
history. This is also where the world-famous Turner Prize
is judged and exhibited.
For something decidedly wacky and an expedition that is
sure to win favour with children, why not visit The
British Cartoon Centre [map] (National Museum of Cartoon Art), at The Brunswick Centre,
Bernard Street, WC1. See how the experts have brought
cartooning from the days of Hogarth right up to modern
Simpson’s-style animation. You can even try your
hand at drawing your own caricatures, comic strips and
For still images one of Britain’s leading lights
is located in Central London. A visit to The Photographers’
Great Newport Street, WC2, is a must. This is one of the
best centres for contemporary photography in the world
and offers a range of free exhibitions. This is also the
place to see the winner of The Citigroup Prize - the photographer’s
equivalent of the Turner Prize.
Other photography and modern art venues where you can
enjoy some interesting collections and perhaps purchase
a piece of art include Hanina Gallery [map],
Westbourne Grove, W11, The Ice House [map],
Holland Park, W8, and the Pentagram Gallery [map],
Needham Road, W11.
If you want to purchase art head to Bloomsbury in Central
London. Perhaps more famous for its literary connections
than its artistic abilities this district is home to a
wealth of privately owned galleries displaying and selling
And if you know your art from your elbow why not try your
luck at one of the world’s foremost auction houses. Bonhams Knightsbridge [map],
Montpelier Street, SW7, is a family-owned auction house
that was founded in 1793 and now draws buyers from across
the globe. Its specialist knowledge extends to many disciplines,
ranging from traditional art to new fields of collecting.
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