1. The National Gallery, 2. Royal Academy of Arts, 3. Hayward Gallery, 4. Tate Britain, 5. Saatchi Gallery, 6. Dulwich Picture Gallery, 7. Whitechapel Gallery, 8. The William Morris Gallery, 9. The Guildhall Art Gallery, 10. The National Portrait Gallery. London offers one of the most vibrant and diverse art scenes in the world. With more than 1,500 galleries, leading auction houses, museums, art fairs, and exhibitions London’s current art scene is one of the world’s biggest and a pole of attraction for artists and art lovers from all over the world. Here are some of London's best art galleries for your reference.
- The National Gallery
- Royal Academy of Arts
- Hayward Gallery
- Tate Britain
- Saatchi Gallery
- Dulwich Picture Gallery
- Whitechapel Gallery
- The William Morris Gallery
- The Guildhall Art Gallery
- The National Portrait Gallery
The National Gallery
The National Gallery, which is located in Trafalgar Square in central London, is free to the public 361 days a year. It houses the country’s Western European painting collection, which dates from the 13th through the early 20th century.
Van Eyck, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Turner, Rembrandt, Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet, Rubens, Velázquez, Van Dyck, Titian, and Bellini are among the best Western European painters represented in the collection. No other collection is as constant in quality or covers the tale of Western European painting as well as this one. Almost every one of the National Gallery’s 2,300 artworks is on permanent exhibit.
The British Government purchased 38 paintings belonging to banker John Julius Angerstein in 1824, and the Gallery was born. The photos were shown in Angerstein’s former home in Pall Mall because there was no suitable venue available to showcase the collection. The collection was only brought to its current location in Trafalgar Square in 1838.
Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
Via: Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica
Via: National Gallery
Royal Academy of Arts
The Royal Academy (RA) was created by a group of 36 artists and architects, including the Royal Academy’s first president, Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was motivated to elevate British art and architecture to a professional level. They established Britain’s first art school, which is now a key feature of the campus, and a biennial show that continues to attract top artists from around the world.
The New Royal Academy opened its doors in 2018 to commemorate the Royal Academy’s 250th anniversary, with new spaces including the state-of-the-art Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries, which provide a third suite of galleries for temporary exhibitions. With galleries dedicated to architecture, site-specific installations, free exhibits, and the work of RA students, the reconstruction created a wealth of new public space. An extensive public events program is offered by a permanent new lecture theatre and learning center.
The collection is primarily comprised of British art and painters from the 18th century to the current day. Major works by Joshua Reynolds, Laura Knight, Angelica Kauffman, Anthony Caro, and Yinka Shonibare are among the highlights. Grayson Perry, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, and Anish Kapoor are among the present Royal Academicians, as are John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, JMW Turner, Lord Leighton, and Stanley Spencer.
Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD
One of London’s most important spaces for displaying contemporary art and garden teak furniture designs, the Hayward Gallery is housed in an austere 1968 building that is both equally loved and derided by the majority of Londoners.
It’s unusual to come across an art gallery where the structure is as much of a work of art as the artwork within. The Hayward was a contentious structure in the Brutalist style, with massive concrete masses that looked like large building blocks. It was formerly despised, but it is today regarded as a rare specimen of a once-popular type of urban design.
There are five exhibition spaces on two levels, as well as three outdoor sculpture courts characterized as “massive concrete trays”. There is no permanent collection in the gallery. Instead, it serves as a location for three to four exhibitions per year. The gallery includes various time periods and art from all over the world, while the majority of the exhibitions are concentrated on contemporary art. Da Vinci and French Impressionism have both been featured in previous exhibits.
Address: Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
Via: Secret London
Tate Britain is the world’s leading hub for the study and enjoyment of British art, and it encourages international interest in British art. Unparalleled exhibits trace the evolution of British art from the Tudor period to the current day. The BP British Art Displays can be viewed in a variety of ways. Large sections of the museum are dedicated to displaying historic, twentieth-century, and contemporary British art. Aside from these, there are special exhibits that focus on specific artists or areas of British art. In addition, the Clore Gallery features works by J. M. W. Turner, William Blake, and John Constable, among others.
It’s gathered a vast collection of significant paintings hanging in historical groups in the central gallery of the Octagon, ranging from Tudor portraits to eighteenth-century landscapes to Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Rooms dedicated to the development of British art in the twentieth century, with artists such as Whistler, Barbara Hepworth, Francis Bacon, and David Hockney, are also available. With pieces by Damien Hirst, Cerith Wyn Evans, and Mike Nelson, the contemporary exhibitions feature some well-known figures in modern British art.
Address: Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
Via: Art UK
The Saatchi Gallery is a contemporary art gallery in London that was founded by Charles Saatchi in 1985 as an independent charity. Saatchi Gallery became a recognized authority in contemporary art globally as a result of exhibitions that drew on Charles Saatchi’s collection, starting with US artists and minimalism and going on to the Damien Hirst-led Young British Artists, followed by displays exclusively of painting. It has had various locations, originally in North London, then on the South Bank of the Thames, and lastly in Chelsea, Duke of York’s HQ, where it is now. Saatchi Gallery became a registered charity in 2019, marking the start of a new chapter in its history.
The gallery’s purpose is to support artists and make contemporary art accessible to all by presenting projects that are engaging, enlightening, and instructive for a wide range of audiences in physical and digital settings. The Gallery hosts curated exhibitions on topics that are relevant and intriguing in today’s creative culture. Its educational programs aim to introduce young minds to the possibilities of artistic expression, inspire fresh thinking, and stimulate creativity. Saatchi Gallery became a charitable organization in 2019, relying on private donations to reinvest earnings in its core learning programs and encourage universal access to modern art.
Address: Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Rd, London SW3 4RY
Dulwich Picture Gallery
The Dulwich Picture Gallery, founded by art dealer Noel Desenfans and painter Sir Francis Bourgeois in 1811 and located in a structure constructed by Sir John Soane, is the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery. With works dating from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, the Gallery has one of the best collections of Old Master paintings in the UK. Art by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, David Teniers the Younger, Peter Lely, Rembrandt, and Aelbert Cuyp are among the 228 items in the important collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings.
The collection is known for its extensive holdings of Dutch Italianate landscapes, as well as some Rubens sketches. Rembrandt’s Girl at a Window, Van Dyck’s Samson and Delilah, and Gerrit Dou’s Woman Playing the Clavichord is among the collection’s highlights. Michiel Jonker and Ellinor Bergvelt wrote a thorough catalog of the Dutch and Flemish collection, which was printed in 2016 and released online as part of the RKD’s Gerson Digital initiative in 2021.
Address: Gallery Rd, London SE21 7AD
Via: Artnet News
Via: Dulwich Picture Gallery
The Whitechapel Gallery, which was founded in 1901 to deliver great art to the people of the East End of London, is housed in a remarkable arts and crafts structure designed by Charles Harrison Townsend. It does not have a permanent collection but instead hosts a rotating series of exhibitions throughout the year. The program has featured art from Africa, India, and Latin America, as well as debuts by budding artists such as Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock. The London Open, a triennial open submission competition held by the gallery, was recently renamed.
Tree of Life, Rachel Whiteread’s magnificent commission for the building’s front, was unveiled in June 2012 with help from the Art Fund. It is the artist’s first permanent public commission in the UK, and it consists of clusters of leaves cast in bronze and plated in gold leaf that adorn the gallery’s exterior. It’s an Arts and Crafts pattern gracing the gallery’s towers, and ‘Hackney weed’, the urban plants that grow on buildings in the region, were both inspirations for the piece.
Address: 77-82 Whitechapel High St, London E1 7QX
Via: Art Fund
The William Morris Gallery
The William Morris Gallery tucked away in Walthamstow, is a hidden gem for history aficionados. The Victorian designer William Morris is most known today for his ornate wallpaper designs, but this museum honors a considerably more interesting artist than his celebrity would suggest. Morris’s tale is told over two floors. He was the leader of a visionary group that felt that art and crafts should be used to make the world a better place.
The gallery is especially well-suited to families, as it routinely hosts children’s events and interactive exhibitions. Its spacious, well-kept grounds are another lure – ideal for a picnic if the on-site cafe doesn’t tempt you. Alongside its permanent collection, the museum hosts small but densely-curated exhibitions. It is always free to visit, in line with the polymath’s own principles.
Address: Lloyd Park, Forest Rd, London E17 4PP
Via: Waltham Forest Culture
Via: Evening Standard
The Guildhall Art Gallery
The City of London Corporation’s art is housed in the Guildhall Art Gallery. The 4,500-piece collection, which includes over 1,300 oil paintings, spans the years 1670 to the present. The collection is particularly strong in Victorian material, with a number of noteworthy Pre-Raphaelite pieces, as well as major ceremonial and topographical paintings. Commissions, purchases, and generous contributions and bequests have helped to build the collection, particularly the gift of famous Victorian paintings that are still popular with visitors today.
The City’s expanding specialization in London subjects was recognized and established in 1943 as the collection grew. The Gallery continues to collect works of art, often with the help of grant-making organizations, in order to encourage current and future visitors to understand, empathize with, and feel a part of the story of one of the world’s great cities. John Singleton Copley’s massive ‘Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar’ September 1782, William Logsdail’s ‘The Ninth of November’ 1888 and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s ‘La ghirlandata’ are among the collection’s highlights.
Address: Basinghall St, London EC2V 5AE
View Details: https://cutt.ly/RGkAL9j
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery, which opened in 1856 and is located just off Trafalgar Square, houses the world’s largest collection of portraiture, which includes famous men and women who have helped shape British history from the great Tudor courts to the present day, as well as contemporary portraits that reflect the diversity, inventiveness, and multi-culturalism of modern-day Britain. The Gallery offers a unique and interesting view into those individuals who together characterize a nation by weaving together 500 years of history, art, biography, and celebrity.
Visitors can meet kings and queens, courtiers and courtesans, politicians and poets, warriors and scientists, artists and writers, philosophers and movie stars up close and personal. Its 3,000 paintings depict some of Britain’s most famous and instantly recognizable figures, from Elizabeth I to J. K. Rowling, by artists ranging from Holbein to Hockney. Behind each image is a fascinating story giving an insight into an individual who stood out in their generation and enriched culture and national consciousness.
Address: St. Martin’s Pl, London WC2H 0HE
Via: The Guardian