Tag Archives: Art Gallery

Bankside

Shakespeare's Globe

Bankside

The Bankside area of Southwark roughly equates with the riverside between Blackfriars Bridge and London Bridge.

The distance between the two bridges is about a mile and there are not only plenty of things to see, but also a fair number of pubs to hold you up along the way, and if you stop at all of them you’ll need holding up yourself.

Next to Blackfriars Railway Bridge is the Founders Arms, which although modern is in a great location overlooking the river, but as this isn’t a pub crawl I’ll assume that you’ll want to move straight on to the first real point of interest which is the Tate Modern.

Housed inside the former Bankside Power Station, this gallery of modern art won’t appeal to everyone, and depending on your taste in art you can either spend the best part of a day in here or hardly any time at all. Either way, you should go in and take a look, not just because it’s free, but you can always take the lift up to the viewing level of the Blavatnik Building for great views over the City of London and beyond.

Outside the river entrance to the Tate Modern is the Millennium Bridge. No prizes for guessing where it got its name from, but you may be tempted across it because on the other side of the river is St Paul’s Cathedral, but as tempting as it may be, it’s best left for another time.

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The National Portrait Gallery

Room 5 (Charles I)

The National Portrait Gallery

 

I read somewhere that London has somewhere in the region of 1,500 permanent art galleries, and I wouldn’t have a clue as to whether that’s a true number or not, but however many it is, it’s definitely a large number.
Some are big and some are small, some are good, and some no doubt are not so good, but art is very often a matter of personal choice. The problem for visitors who don’t know their Constable from their Hockney is where to go to see the best examples of what London has to offer.

One of the most well known, and deservedly so in my opinion, is the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, and next door just around the corner in St. Martin’s Place is the National Portrait Gallery (NPG).

Whereas the National Gallery’s name is a bit confusing because it includes works of art from all over Europe, the National Portrait Gallery’s collection is of “the most eminent persons in British History”.
That statement seems to sum up the NPG for me. The paintings are more about the subjects rather than the artists. There are some great subjects, but that doesn’t necessarily make them great works of art. Now, I have to admit that I can’t even paint an outside wall, and the only thing I’ve ever been able to draw is a pint, so what do I know really?

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The National Gallery

The National Gallery

Not just British Art

 

Looking at works of art is very subjective, and so it’s probably a good idea to have an understanding on what type of art is on display at the National Gallery and where you can find what you’re looking for.

Overlooking Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery has over 2,300 paintings that belong to UK citizens and consequently is free to go in. You can either walk up the steps and enter through the portico, or better still take the Getty entrance on the right, where, not only is there a lift for people who need it, but also other facilities such as cloakroom, toilets, coffee bar, café, restaurant, shop, and information point.

The lift will whisk you up to Level 2 where practically all the paintings are located. The layout is arranged in a total of four wings – the Sainsbury Wing (13th-15th century), the West Wing (16th century), the North Wing (17th century) and the East Wing (18th to early 20th century). The Sainsbury Wing is a modern extension added in 1991. In some ways this makes it slightly more confusing because although it houses the earliest paintings, the rooms are numbered the highest (from 51 to 66). Other than that all the other wings run in chronological order.

Given that the name is The National Gallery, you might think that it just houses British works of art, but in actual fact it exhibits the country’s collection of Western European paintings including Renaissance, Baroque and Impressionism. (For the National Gallery of British Art you need to go to Tate Britain on Millbank).

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Torre Abbey

Torre Abbey

Torre Abbey is undoubtedly the single most important medieval building in Torbay, and although its appearance has changed over the years, it should be on every visitor’s list of things to see.

Founded in 1196 by Canons of the Premonstratensian (!) order they became wealthy landlords adding the ‘quay’ to Torre.

They carried on their business for over 300 years until Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries.

During the reign of his daughter, Elizabeth I, one of the Spanish Armada’s galleons, the Nuestra Senora del Rosario, was captured by Sir Francis Drake and its crew of 397 were imprisoned in the abbey barn – known ever since as the Spanish Barn.

The remains and ruins of the medieval abbey are still here to be seen, but successive owners started to change the abbey into a comfortable home, and in 1662 it fell into the hands of the Cary family.

The Cary family are one of Torquay’s most notable families with a long history and they stayed here right up until 1930 when they sold it to the Borough of Torquay for £40,000.

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Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Royal Albert Memorial Museum

There’s a danger of boring people to death when describing museums, so forgive me if I don’t include everything that this museum has to offer.

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) was built in the Gothic style in the 1860s. It’s a handsome building, and with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a multi-million pound re-development took place between 1999 and 2011.

The new-look museum was such a success that the Art Fund named it Museum of the Year in 2012.

It might have cost millions to bring up to date but it’s still free to go in, and so there’s no real reason not to pay it a visit. There are two entrances but the main one is in Queen St at the front of the building.

Briefly, the layout of the museum is spread over two levels, with the Ground Floor concentrating on local interest, whilst the upper First Floor includes items from other cultures and specimens from the natural world. There is more to it than that of course, but that’s the gist of it.

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