Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas in London 2014: Art Exhibitions

This is a list of art exhibitions for those planning to visit London over the Christmas and New Year period.  Current exhibition dates are listed in red - and many of them close in early-mid January.

For those unfamiliar with locations, here's a map!  You can zoom in and out using the + /- signs bottom right.  It will help you see the distance between different places if you're planning to visit more than one.

You can also share this map via Facebook, Google+ or Twitter using the share sign top right - if you do please remember to credit this post as the source.

a map of major museums and art galleries in London open to the public


If you have limited time and want to maximise looking at art, I'd recommend basing yourself around Trafalgar Square where you have a number of exhibitions and displays within the National Gallery and National Portrait  Gallery.

Further recommendations for those in South London after the section on Central London.

Note that all museums are closed 25-26 December - but only a few are closed on 1 January.

British Museum

National Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

The NPG always has an excellent selection of exhibitions and displays - and is one of the few galleries I know where the displays often match up to and sometimes even better the exhibitions!  If you want one gallery to visit to see a range of artwork on different themes then this is the one - so long as you like portraiture!
  • Until 15 March 2015 Grayson Perry: Who are you? This is a bit of an odd exhibition as each of the artworks (ceramic posts, sculpture, tapestry and a self-portrait) are displayed as part of the permanent collection. You're given a little map to follow to find them all. RECOMMENDED: Well worth seeing - particularly if you followed the television programme.
  • One of the tapestries in Grayson Perry: Who are you?
  • Until 1 March 2015 - The Real Tudors - Kings and Queens Rediscovered - This exhibition has a remarkable set and sequence of portraits of the Tudor Monarchs. I really appreciated seeing drawings next to paintings and sequences of portraits of monarchs over time, they're very impressive. RECOMMENDED for fans of history and the Tudors (that's me!). Overall the exhibition is very much superior to the normal display of Tudor monarchs due to the loans the gallery has been fortunate to secure. 
  • rediscover the well-known Tudor monarchs through the most complete presentation of their portraiture staged to date.

    • Until 22 February 2015 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize - 60 contemporary portraits selected for one of the most prestigious photographic portrait competitions. Read my review David Titlow wins Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014
    • Until 11 January 2015Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy, 1860 – 1960 This is an exhibition which left me a little non-plussed. It's more an exhibition of objects as a portrait of the man. As such it has relatively little of his artwork.  The social history of his legacy continues all the way through to the Festival of Britain
    View of objects on display in the exhibition - Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy, 1860 – 1960

    Tate Modern

    Tate Britain

    If visiting Tate Britain don't neglect to see the chronological survey of works from the permanent collection in the BP Walk through British Art - plus several smaller associated 'spotlight' exhibitions focusing on individual artists. Plus there is of course the Turner Collection
    Installation shot of The EY Exhibition: Late Turner - Painting Set Free
    Copyright Tate photography

    Royal Academy of Arts

    All works by Giovanni Battista Moroni
    Clockwise from top left:
    The Tailor, 1565-70. Oil on canvas, 99.5 x 77 cm. The National Gallery, London. Photo © The National Gallery, London
    Gian Gerolamo Grumelli, c. 1560. Oil on canvas, 216 x 123 cm. Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni
    Young Lady, c.1560-65. Oil on canvas, 51 x 42 cm. Private collection. Photo Private collection
    Isotta Brembati, c.1555. Oil on canvas, 160 x 115 cm. Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni
    A Gentleman in Adoration before the Baptism of Christ, c.1555-60. Oil on canvas, 112.8 x 104 cm
    Gerolamo and Roberta Etro. Photo Gerolamo and Roberta Etro
    Gian Girolamo Albani, c.1570. Oil on canvas, 107 x 75 cm. Private Collection. Photo: Private collection
    • Until 25 January 2015 - Giovanni Battista Moroni - one of the greatest portraitists of 16th-century Italy. I didn't think I knew Moroni - until I started to review the paintings included in this exhibition

    Victoria & Albert Museum

    • Until 11 January 2015 - Constable: The Making of a Master This is a major exhibition which reassesses John Constable’s influences, techniques and legacy to offer a new interpretation of Britain’s best-loved artist.  Oil sketches painted outdoors are united with the masterpieces which were created in the studio from them.
    • More details - see
    • Visiting - Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL Closed 24-26 December 2014

    Courtauld Gallery

    Wallace Collection


    If you're based in South London, you might want to try the exhibitions at Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Horniman Museum

    Dulwich Picture Gallery

    Horniman Museum

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