phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
Advertisement

Relaunch of Guildhall Art Gallery

16 January 2015 Laura Stevens

A £600,000 renovation has transformed the Guildhall Art Gallery allowing for almost double the number of works to be displayed.

Guildhall Art Gallery is a secret art gem that’s not so hidden away. Imposing and assertive, even when situated within the majestic architecture that dominates the Square Mile, the space is somehow not more prominent in the cultural landscape.

This will soon change. Today, the relaunch was revealed that includes a £600,000 renovation project which has doubled the number of paintings on show, created the first re-hang in 15 years and installed a state of the art LED lighting system.

And with 4,500 works in holding there was a desperate need for this rethink. The gallery showcases the art collection of the City of London Corporation, which had its first piece of work commissioned in 1667. The art gallery is now divided into ten new thematic displays which takes the viewer through centuries of London, England and further ashore.

David Pearson, the City of London’s Director of Culture, Heritage and Libraries spoke about the gallery as “a key part of the Guildhall complex which we are keen to open up to encourage people to discover.”

“We know there are lots of new audiences out there who haven’t yet been here.”

Julia Dudkiewicz, Principal Curator of Guildhall Art Gallery echoed Pearson: “We have aimed to actively engage modern day visitors through addressing subjects of current relevance to life in the 21st century.”

It seems the Gallery is keen not only to overcome the barrier to new audiences, but also to break down the perception of Victorian art as staid and dated.

Dudkiewicz wanted to “challenge some preconceptions of Victorian art being dated by illustrating how many mainstream phenomena and core aspects of our life today take their origin in the Victorian period”. To help the visitor experience the Victorian space is divided into seven themes between dichotomies materiality and spirituality, and realities and imagined realities.

Having the densely hung work helpfully divided up guides the observer through the pieces and demonstrates the curatorial desire to link the 19th century to the 21st.

Katty Pearce, Exhibitions Curator, said the layout also echoed the Victorians through double and triple hanging on the walls, and hanging on chains.

In the Victorian section alone Pearce explains how “70 per cent of the works are new”. Through juxtaposing previously unseen work with old favourites such as Rossetti’s La Ghirlandata, the whole collection is infused with fresh life.

Asking Katty how she managed to choose between the 4000 works in holding she laughs and agrees it was hard! “It was a six month labour of love to make those decisions!”

“I’m really pleased, I do feel very proud of it.”

The exhibition encompasses the historical range of the Corporation’s collection with an unsurprising bias towards the Capital. Tower Bridge. A Celebration of 120 Years. 1894-2014 explores the origin of this iconic monument.

But one treat lurking beneath the gallery far outdates the Corporation in its antiquity. Coinciding with the establishment of the City of London in AD 50, there are the remains of London’s Roman Amphitheatre. Using striking lighting and neon images the athletes are re-imagined in this subterranean ancient site.

The newly renovated Gallery provides visual stimulation, a place for quiet contemplation and also a chance for some intellectual pondering with your mind transported across this inspirational city.

And to help cement its place on the map, all this culture is absolutely free!

{ad-placement-MPU1}

Most popular

What to See at The Cinema

What to See at The Cinema

Your go-to guide to what's on the silver screen
Advertisement
Top 5 Bars and Restaurants for Shisha-Lovers

Top 5 Bars and Restaurants for Shisha-Lovers

The five finest spots in London to shoot the breeze and pass the pipe
Advertisement
The Best Riverside Walks In London

The Best Riverside Walks In London

Oh we do like to be beside the canalside...
Advertisement
A Guide to the Best Lidos in London

A Guide to the Best Lidos in London

Looking to beat the heat or enjoy some fun in the sun? Here are our top 5 London lidos to enjoy this summer.
Advertisement
Top Theatre of the Week

Top Theatre of the Week

Where to get the best of new theatre openings in London
Top Exhibitions of the Week

Top Exhibitions of the Week

The place to come for all the best current exhibitions in London...
London’s Must-See Flower Shows in 2019

London’s Must-See Flower Shows in 2019

With the balmy weather here to stay, why not take in the sumptuous beauty that these London flower shows have to offer
Top Gigs of the Week

Top Gigs of the Week

From underground indie to rap stars to house legends, we've got you covered...
Where to Eat: Desserts in East London

Where to Eat: Desserts in East London

Even if the Easter bunny doesn’t visit your garden this month, there are plenty of ways to get your sweet fix this springtime

Your inbox deserves a little culture!!

Advertisement