Tate Britain

Tate Britain

Following my visit to Tate Modern a few weeks ago, I decided to head to Tate Britain in Pimlico. This gallery, which specialises in British art, does hold more attractions for me than Tate Modern does, and has some of my all-time favourite pictures.

Inside Tate Britain

Inside Tate Britain

The bulk of the permanent collection forms the ‘Walk Through British Art’ which allows the visitor to explore 500 years of art chronologically. I do like this ordered way of doing things. Naturally enough, I started at the beginning.

Tate Britain

The early pictures in the collection suffer in my mind from a comparison with the National Portrait Gallery. They’re similar in style but unlike the NPG, they aren’t of anyone famous. One exception is the picture of Elizabeth I, and I was amused by an angular painting of a pair of identical twins holding their babies, apparently born on the same day.

Elizabeth I
Steven van der Meulen, Steven van Herwijck. Portrait of Elizabeth I, c.1563
Lady Macbeth Seizing the Daggers
Henry Fuseli. Lady Macbeth Seizing the Daggers, ? exhibited 1812

The rooms take you through the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, featuring such artists as Lely, Gainsborough, Hogarth and Constable. Along the way I popped into a room to view John Martin’s incredible apocalyptic canvases.

The Destruction of Pompei and Herculaneum
John Martin. The Destruction of Pompei and Herculaneum, 1822

I came to my favourite room in the gallery, which focuses on nineteenth century and Pre Raphaelite art. I’ve been reading a book about poetical deaths recently, so I was fascinated to see the picture of Chatterton. Millais’ picture of Ophelia, one of my favourites, is also displayed here as well as Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose, which always reminds me of The Family From One End Street.

1890 room
My favourite room
Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth
John Singer Sargent. Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, 1889

As well as familiar favourites, I came across a few unfamiliar pictures which I really loved.

Beyond Man’s Footsteps
Briton Riviere. Beyond Man’s Footsteps, exhibited 1894
The Doctor
Sir Luke Fildes. The Doctor, exhibited 1891

The next few rooms cover later art, which isn’t generally as interesting to me, although I find Francis Bacon’s picture of a man screaming rather chilling. Also, I quite like a Lowry.

Study for a Portrait
Francis Bacon. Study for a Portrait, 1952
The Pond
L.S. Lowry. The Pond, 1950

Before leaving I ventured to the back of the gallery to see the Turner Collection and the works of William Blake, both of which have their own spaces.

Turner Collection
Turner Collection
The Ghost of a Flea
William Blake. The Ghost of a Flea, c.1819–20

After my visit, my conclusion is that I should go to Tate Britain more often. There are some incredible paintings here, including some of my favourites, and while I can readily view them online, nothing compares to the real thing.

FACTS

Address: Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG

Website: tate.org.uk/visit/tate-britain

Opening Hours: 10am-6pm Mon-Sun

Prices: Free (there is a charge for special exhibitions)

Tate Modern

Tate Modern

I love visiting art galleries in the summer. They’re lovely and cool when it’s hot outside. I popped into the Tate Modern one Sunday afternoon before going to the Globe. I’ve been before, but these days I don’t normally visit except to see the odd special exhibition. I decided to take another look at the permanent collection.

Welcome to Tate Modern

Tate Britain had been running for several years when the Tate Trustees announced their intention to create a new gallery for international modern art in London. The former Bankside Power Station was chosen as the site and the gallery opened in 2000. Recently, an extension to the gallery was unveiled, the Blavatnik Building at the rear (the original building is known as the Boiler House).

Turbine Hall

I entered the gallery via the River Entrance and came upon the Turbine Hall. This is one of the most impressive and iconic parts of the museum, its vast space playing host to a variety of installations. It’s also a lovely place to be during hot weather, as it’s nice and cool.

Thames

I worked my way through the various rooms in the Boiler House. Frankly many of them reminded me of how much I tend to dislike modern art, but there were a few gems, such as Salvador Dali’s lobster phone, pictures by Henri Matisse and Walter Sickert and sculptures by Edgar Degas. Rooms focus on themes such as ‘Artist and Society’, ‘Materials and Objects’, and ‘New Acquisitions’.

Blavatnik Building

I made my way over to the other side in order to explore the new extension, known as the Blavatnik Building. This was impressive but best thing about it is the roof terrace which offers great views over London (and also, infamously, into neighbouring flats).

View from the Tate Modern extension

Truthfully, modern art isn’t really my thing, but if you are a fan then the Tate Modern is a great place to go. For everyone else, it’s still worth visiting for the views.

FACTS

Address: Bankside, London, SE1 9TG

Website: tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern

Opening Hours: 10am-6pm Sun-Thurs, 10am-10pm Fri and Sat

Prices: Free (there is a charge for special exhibitions)