London Guildhall Art Gallery History
Any of us can live without art, but it is boring, isn’t it? So, if you have some free time at weekend or if you have come to London for a week or two, you should visit London Guildhall Art Gallery. As any other venue of that kind, it has a long story of its foundation, some gems in its collection and lots of fans all over the world.
The gallery was opened in 1885. Then it belonged to the Corporation of London. The members of this corporation gathered the portraits of judges. They needed to keep them well, as a lot of pictures were destroyed during the Great Fire in London in 1666. The portraits were a kind of property of Corporation and a kind of compensation for their loss in the fire.
The members of Corporation decided to keep their pictures in the Guildhall Gallery. Later they added other works of popular artists of that time era to their collection. Thus at the end of the 19th century it included the portraits of kings and queens, naval battles and sceneries.
The gallery was completely destroyed in May, 1941. The bomb fell into it and the pictures were lost or damaged. Thus the gallery was closed and it seemed, it would never be renewed again. Nevertheless, in November, 1999 the gallery was restored and reopened. Its new building was designed by Richard Gilbert Scott and was opened by Queen Elizabeth.
Later, in 2014 it was restored. Thus the building became much brighter and bigger and the amount of artifacts was doubled then. The cost of this restoration is impressive – 600,000 GBP. But the renewed gallery looks perfect now!
Treasures in the Guildhall Art Gallery
London Guildhall Art Gallery Exhibitions
Permanent and temporary exhibitions are affordable here. There are more than 4,000 works of different artists in the permanent exhibition. Unfortunately, the space inside is limited, so only 250 works of art can be exhibited in one time.
Among the gems of permanent collection there are artists of Pre-Raphaelites School. The visitors have a unique opportunity to admire the works of Millais, Rossetti, John Constable and other talented artists.
Start your trip around the gallery from “My First Sermon” and “My Second Sermon” of Millais. He has written the first picture in December, 1862. A little girl, that was sitting in the church and was listening to her first sermon, was imaged in the picture. It was Millais’ five year old daughter Effie, who posed for the picture. The painting was shown at the exhibition of the artist and it was so successful, that in a year he painted another one – “The Second Sermon” with the same little model.
The other picture you should pay attention to, is “The Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar, September, 1782” by John Copley. The work is amazing – even if you are not the professional painter, you will like it. It is one of the most popular oil pictures in Great Britain. The artists painted the climax of the battle of Spanish and British floats. This battle lasted during three years and finally Spanish batteries were defeated – it was one of the brightest victories of British float in the 18th century.
After studying the artifacts from permanent collection, pay attention to the temporary exhibitions.
From now and till January, 2016 the visitors of the gallery can see an interesting exhibition, called “No Color Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960-1990”. The theme of exhibition is the fate of black artists in Britain, their most famous works and their attempts to occupy the rightful place among talented painters of that time. Many different black painters are presented within this exhibition. In the center of attention there are such talented painters as Jessica Huntley and Eric Huntley.
The exhibitions of Guildhall gallery are worth seeing. But the building of the gallery is unique too. In the basement if this dwelling there is Roman Amphitheatre, where gladiators used to fight. Tourists can come here too and look about this interesting site.
To be sure, that you will come in time, check the opening hours of the gallery. It starts its work from 10:00 and the doors of the gallery are closed at 17:00. The last visitors can be accepted here in 30 minutes before closing.
Tourists can admire the works of art of Victorian painters from Monday to Saturday. On Sunday the working day is a little shorter – from 12.00 till 16:00. Sometimes the gallery is closed for some event or repair work. The schedule of closures must be checked in advance.
The admission for permanent exhibition is free. So children, adults and the senior members can come here anytime they like and not to pay for it. The donations are welcomed, so if you have some extra money and like the exhibition, leave something for the development of the gallery.
The temporary exhibitions are charged separately and prices may differ from high to average.
The address of The Guildhall Gallery is: Guildhall Yard London EC2V 5AE.
It is not a problem to get here, as the Guildhall gallery is accessible by various modes of transport. If you like cycling, you can come here by bike. The places for bike parking are prepared here.
There’s bad news for lovers of driving as it is quite hard to leave the car here. The space at the car parks nearby is limited. Public kinds of transportation are recommended.
If you choose the bus to come here, different numbers are affordable. The number you choose depends on the direction you come from.
Thus, you can get the following bus numbers: 11, 23, 26, and 43 etc.
It is also possible to come here by train. The Guildhall Gallery is situated among the other places of interest in London, so you can come here, stay for a while and then continue your trip.
Telephone of London Guildhall Art Gallery: +44 20 7332 3700
London Guildhall Art Gallery Shop and Restaurants
The small gift shop is situated just in the building of the gallery. Not so many items are sold here, but for lovers of souvenirs it is possible to find some beautiful things. Thus you can get the books, catalogues from exhibitions, posters and other small gifts for yourself, your friends and relatives.
It is a pity, but there’s no café in the building of the gallery. If you have come from another city or town and it is necessary for you to have a snack, you can get the packed lunch and eat it just in the garden near the gallery. Besides there are many nice bars and cafes in less than 5 minutes walk from the gallery.
Thus, it is recommended to visit “Hawksmoor Guildhall”, “The Anthropologist” and some other cafes.
Guildhall Art Gallery is just one attraction among many others in that area. Find some time to visit it and you will get a great pleasure and know a lot of interesting things.