If you’re visiting London and you love art, you’re truly spoilt for choice, with a range of galleries dedicated to different styles of art from a range of historical periods.
One of the lesser-known locations where aesthetes can indulge their passion is the Queen’s Gallery, a public art gallery at the home of the British monarch, Buckingham Palace.
This gallery displays items from the royal collection on a rotating basis, giving visitors the chance to view a wide-ranging selection of paintings, sculpture and other works of art, as well as an array of priceless treasures.
The gallery was built over 40 years ago on the site of a chapel bombed during the Second World War, and first opened in 1962.
Some five million people visited the gallery over the next 37 years, before it closed for renovation work to be carried out.
It was reopened by Elizabeth II in 2002 to coincide with her Golden Jubilee. The improvements, which also saw the addition of a Doric entrance patio, had more than tripled the size of the building.
Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden
Gardens are a meeting point between man and nature, providing sacred sanctuaries, places for scientific study, havens for the solitary thinker or a space for pure enjoyment and delight.
Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden features a range of works, including paintings, drawings, books, botanical studies and decorative arts, exploring how gardens have been celebrated in art from the 16th to the 20th centuries.
Some famous names are present in the exhibition, with works by Leonardo da Vinci, Maria Sibylla Merian and Carl Faberge, while some of the earliest and rarest surviving depictions of gardens and plants are also included.
The exhibition will run until Sunday October 11th. It is open daily between 10.00 and 17.30, with last admission at 16.15.
Admission prices are as follows:
Adult – £10.00
Concessions – £9.20
Under 17/Disabled – £5.20
Under-fives – free
The gallery also plays host to a number of events that will be of considerable interest to connoisseurs of art. Here are two that will be held in the coming weeks.
Short Talk: Christ as a Gardener by Rembrandt
Due to take place on Thursday July 9th at 12.00 and 15.00, this short talk will be given by Desmond Shawe-Taylor, surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures.
He will discuss Rembrandt’s Christ as a Gardener, which depicts Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Christ and follows St John’s Gospel with imaginative fidelity.
Facts recounted in the text are imbued with a symbolic meaning, giving an added significance to aspects of the painting such as the light of the dawn and the turn of Mary’s head.
Entry is free with an exhibition ticket or a one-year pass.
A Pair of Tompion Sundials
This short talk, by by Sally Goodsir, assistant curator of decorative arts, is to focus on the pair of sundials in the exhibition made by the eminent English clockmaker Thomas Tompion.
Produced for William III, the sundials marry aesthetics with functionality, drawing on the sciences of horology, astronomy and mathematics.
The talk, which lasts for 15 minutes, will examine how they are used and what calculations can be performed with them. It will take place at 12.00 and 15.00. Entry is free with an exhibition ticket or a one-year pass.
Buckingham Palace is a well-known tourist destination and can be easily reached using a range of transport methods, putting it within easy reach of hotels on Oxford Street.
Victoria Station, which is served by overground and underground lines, is a short walk away from the palace. Head north from the station along Buckingham Palace Road; your destination is a mere ten-minute walk away.
If you’re travelling by bus, numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 stop on Buckingham Palace Road.
While you’re at the palace, you might also want to take the opportunity to visit the State Rooms, which are open to the public. These rooms are still used extensively by The Queen and members of the Royal Family to receive and entertain their guests on state, ceremonial and official occasions.