03.04.2015
13:15

RCM Museum of Music

SEE IMPORTANT CLOSURE INFORMATION BELOW

Address:

Prince Consort Road, SW7 2BS

Phone:

020-7591 4314

Website:

www.rcm.ac.uk/museum

Opening times:

Tue-Fri 11:30-14:30

How to get there:

Tube: South Kensington

Entry fee:

Free

Close to the Royal Albert Hall, in a building by Sir A.W. Blomfield in ‘French baronial’ style, the College owns a remarkable collection of musical instruments, comprising some 800 items dating from the end of the 15th century to the present day. Founded in 1883, with Sir George Grove as its first Director, the college received important collections from, among others, Rajah Sourindro Mohun Tagore (1884); the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII (1886); founder of the College Sir George Donaldson (1894), curator of the historic music rooms for the International Inventions Exhibition in the Royal Albert Hall in 1885; and A.J. Hipkins (1911), first honorary curator at the College.

The museum is housed in a purpose-built 1970s split-level room. In the far left-hand corner at ground level is a clavicytherium of c. 1480, the oldest known stringed keyboard instrument in the world. Probably made in Germany, it features an elaborately carved miniature Gothic rose window and was preserved in the Contarini and Correr collections near Venice until it was exhibited in London in 1885 and then acquired by Donaldson. A working copy, which can be seen—and occasionally heard—here, was commissioned by the College from Adlam-Burnett in 1973. One of the earliest harpsichords to survive can be seen nearby, dated 1531, by Alessandro Trasuntino of Venice, the inside of the outer case decorated with a voluptuous Venus and Cupid painted by the school of Paris Bordone, c. 1580. The remarkably well preserved polygonal virginals by Giovanni Celestini (1593), also the oldest surviving of its type, was decorated in Venice towards the end of the 16th century with miniature paintings of the contest between Apollo and Pan, Apollo pursuing Daphne, and Orpheus playing to the animals. Items with historical associations include a clavichord that was once owned by Haydn; a spinet supposed to have been given to Handel by his friend A.G. Leamon, from whose descendants it was acquired by Hipkins; and trombones that belonged to Elgar and Holst. Among the organs, rare examples are the German table regal of the late 17th century, the portable Bible regal from the early 18th century, designed to fold up like a book, and the chamber organ attributed to the important Restoration builder Bernard Smith, from around 1702. Displayed with several percussion instruments is an early 19th-century glass harmonica of the type invented by Benjamin Franklin. Both Mozart and Beethoven composed for glass harmonica, an instrument which is notoriously difficult to play. Among the wind instruments is an early 19th-century Northumbrian smallpipe and a rare Scottish stock-and-horn, of which only one other original survives. These last two both once belonged to the artist and caricaturist Charles Keene.

On the gallery level are the bowed and plucked stringed instruments, and the College’s ethnographic collection of Asian and African instruments. The bowed strings include the oldest-known baryton, from 1647, a very rare example of an instrument that was played like a viol and made some time before being brought into vogue by Haydn and Prince Nikolaus Esterházy. Among the plucked instruments is a very well-preserved lute-like instrument, a chitarrone from 1608, made by Magno Tieffenbrucker of Venice, and a late 16th-century cittern that once belonged to Rossini, and was used, according to a label discovered inside, as a model by Titian. Also particularly fine is the museum’s ten-strong collection of guitars. They include the earliest known guitar in the world, from 1581, complete with its original back, made by Belchior Diaz of Lisbon. The Asian and African instruments, composed largely from the collections donated by Tagore and King Edward VII, include a rare 17th-century Afro-Portuguese ivory horn; a Tibetan dragon horn; Indian stringed instruments, including a vina decorated with carved depictions of scenes from the life of Krishna; and an arched harp, shaped like a boat, from Burma, a type of instrument that appears in the very earliest Egyptian and Sumerian sources. Several of the museum’s most precious instruments can be heard in action on a computerised ‘virtual tour’.

The collection of portraits, selections from which are displayed in the museum, contains depictions of the greatest composers, instrumentalists, singers and conductors of all nations, although the emphasis is on British musicians or those who worked in Britain. Outstanding items include Houdon’s terracotta bust of Gluck; Burne-Jones’s portrait of Paderewski (1890) and Epstein’s bust of Vaughan Williams.

03.04.2015
13:10

Royal Academy of Music Museum

Address:

Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5HT

Phone:

020 7873 7443

Website:

www.ram.ac.uk/museum

Opening times:

Monday to Friday 11.30-5.30pm and Saturday 12-4pm, closed Sunday, public holidays and the month of December.

How to get there:

Tube: Baker Street/Regents Park

Entry fee:

Free

Additional information:

Shop

 

MUSEUM CLOSURE UPDATE - SEE BELOW

The Royal Academy of Music was founded in 1822 at the instigation of the keen amateur composer Lord Burghersh, later Earl of Westmorland, and granted its Royal Charter by George IV in 1830. It was the original venue for the Proms, the ‘Promenade Concerts’ devised by the impresario Robert Newman in 1895 to ‘train the public’ to appreciate classical music. All that survives of the original building, destroyed by bombing, are five carved busts representing Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Haydn and possibly Purcell, now displayed in the basement lobby. The Royal Academy of Music (since 1999 a college of London University) moved here in 1911.

The museum is now housed in York Gate, designed in 1822 by John Nash as a main entrance to his new Regent’s Park. The collections include a number of treasures: a Renaissance-style lute by Venere of Padua, dating from 1584 and still with its original back; a horn used by Alfred Brain, principal horn of 20th Century Fox. ‘The Violin Family’ features selections from a collection of more than 200 stringed instruments, kept in playing order by the resident luthier, whose workshop can also be seen. The collection includes the Archinto violin (1696), the Rutson violin (1694), and the Maurin violin (1718), all by Stradivari, as well as instruments made by the Amati brothers. They form a representative selection of most of the famous names. Violins seem to have originated in eastern Lombardy, in the craftwork traditions of Cremona, native town of Stradivari and the Amati and Guarneri families. A Turkish violin here from 1737 was made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, who incorporated the Jesus monogram into his label and was popularised by Paganini. The instrument has been played by the great Russian interpreter of Brahms Jaschka Heifitz; Isaac Stern,; and Polish violinist Henryk Szeryng, best known for his recordings of Bach and Mozart. The Savage-Stevens bequest of 1865 includes an important collection of 17th- and 18th-century Italian manuscripts, purchased in 1817. The Goetz Library of full scores was donated in 1902 and the David Munrow collection in 1993. Conductors’ libraries include those of Otto Klemperer, Henry Wood and John Barbirolli. On the second floor, the Piano Collection demonstrates the technical development of the grand piano in the first half of the 19th century and contrasts it with the daintier Viennese style, illustrated by nine examples. The sequence of English square pianos traces half a century of changes responding to composers and players.

03.04.2015
13:06

Royal Academy of Arts

Address:

Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD

Phone:

020-7300 8000

Website:

www.royalacademy.org.uk

Opening times:

Daily 10:00–18:00 (until 22:00 on Fri)

How to get there:

Tube: Green Park/Piccadilly Circus

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Restaurant and shop

Founded in 1768 under the patronage of George III, with the distinguished portraitist Sir Joshua Reynolds as its first President, the Royal Academy’s aim was and still is the promotion of art and design through its teaching Schools; its Summer Exhibition of contemporary British work, an annual event since 1769; and the staging of international loan exhibitions. It is for the latter that the Royal Academy (RA) is perhaps best known today, being one of the main venues in London for major national and international shows. The RA has always been a self-governing institution, its President elected from its body of Academicians (RAs) composed, since the 18th century, of leading painters, sculptors and architects and, from the 19th century, engravers. As well as Reynolds, past Presidents include great figures such as Benjamin West, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Lord Leighton, Sir Edwin Lutyens and, more recently, Sir Hugh Casson.

 

Burlington House

In 1837 the RA moved from its elegant purpose-built premises in Somerset House to the new National Gallery building in Trafalgar Square and from there, in 1868, to Burlington House where it has been ever since. The present building, largely the work of Sydney Smirke (1866–76), encases a much older one. Smirke’s alterations for the RA included the construction of large exhibition galleries to the rear, and heightening and altering the existing building. The house, begun c. 1664 by Sir John Denham, then bought and completed in 1668 by the 1st Earl of Burlington, was one of London’s foremost private mansions. In the early 18th century it underwent radical alterations, first by James Gibbs for Juliana, Duchess of Burlington; and in 1717–20 by Colen Campbell for the Duchess’ son, the famous architect and promoter of Palladianism, the 3rd Earl of Burlington. The current façade, the block directly facing you as you pass through the central archway from Piccadilly, has Campbell’s Palladian ground and first storeys and Smirke’s third, a heavy addition with niches containing statues of British and Italian Renaissance painters and sculptors. The wings creating the courtyard, by Banks & Barry 1868–73 in Italian Renaissance style, house learned societies: to the left, the Linnaean Society, Royal Astronomical Society and Society of Antiquaries; to the right, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Geological Society. The pleasant fountain jets in the centre of the courtyard are placed, apparently, according to Reynolds’ horoscope.

Internally Burlington House has been extensively altered by a succession of architects. The low-ceilinged entrance hall, remodelled in 1899, contains ceiling paintings by West (The Graces Unveiling Nature, with the Four Elements) and Angelica Kauffmann (Composition, Design, Painting and Invention) removed from the RA’s old meeting room in Somerset House. The central grand staircase by Samuel Ware (1815–18) leads to the Exhibition Galleries. Further up, past Sebastiano Ricci’s grand Baroque paintings The Triumph of Galatea and Diana and her Nymphs, part of a decorative scheme from Gibbs’ old staircase (c. 1712–15), and Kent’s ceiling painting of Architecture with the portrait of Inigo Jones (c. 1720), are the RA’s Fine Rooms.

 

The Exhibitions

Smirke’s Exhibition Galleries, a succession of large, grand spaces with a central octagonal hall, are where the Summer Exhibitions took place from 1769 and the Winter Old Master Exhibitions from 1870, from which the RA’s current but more elaborate exhibition programme has evolved. The galleries witnessed spectacular crowds, especially in the 1880s and 90s during Leighton’s successful Presidency when 350–400,000 visitors flocked to see popular masterpieces such as Sargent’s Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, Logsdail’s St Martin-in-the-Fields and Anna Lea Merritt’s Love Locked Out (all now owned by the Tate). In was also here, in the octagonal hall in 1896, that Leighton’s body lay in state. The Summer Exhibition (working hard to shake off its reputation as a bastion of conservatism) still takes place here as do the RA’s excellent major loan exhibitions.

Norman Foster’s Sackler Galleries (1985–91) on the third floor have created additional exhibition space, dramatically approached via a glass lift (or staircase) in the narrow space, now glazed, between the back of Burlington House and Smirke’s Exhibition Galleries, affording an extraordinary close-up view of the architecture. Displayed outside the galleries is the Academy’s greatest treasure, Michelangelo’s carved marble Madonna and Child with the Infant St John, the so-called ‘Taddei Tondo’, a work of great beauty and spirituality, bequeathed to the RA in 1830. A further space behind the RA, approached from Burlington Gardens, has occasional loan exhibitions and art fairs while its future development is considered. A rich, Italianate building designed by Sir James Pennethorne for the University of London in 1867–70, until 1997 it was the Museum of Mankind and housed the British Museum’s Ethnographic collection.

 

Fine Rooms and Permanent Collection

Overlooking the courtyard on the first floor are the recently restored John Madesjki Fine Rooms, splendid historic interiors which now display the RA’s permanent collection. The rooms were the principal apartments of old Burlington House, which over the years have been altered by several architects on behalf of various owners and which from 1868 were the RA’s administration and meeting rooms. Originally decorated, and perhaps designed, by William Kent for the 3rd Earl of Burlington, some were altered by John Carr for the 3rd Duke of Portland in 1771–75 and then remodelled again by Samuel Ware in 1815–18 for Lord George Cavendish. The Saloon, with its pedimented doorcases with large putti, rich gilding and ceiling by Kent, The Marriage Feast of Cupid and Psyche, is the most intact of the Burlington interiors. The Secretary’s Room has another Kent ceiling but others are by Ricci, taken from the old staircase decorated for Juliana, Duchess of Burlington. The Council Room has Ricci’s old staircase ceiling; The General Assembly Room his Triumph of Bacchus, originally on the staircase wall; and the Riccis either side of the current staircase are also from the dismantled scheme.

Throughout the rooms are paintings, sculpture and architectural drawings from the RA’s significant permanent collection which includes Diploma Works presented by RAs on their election as members (a requirement since 1768); plaster casts after the antique (used for teaching in the RA Schools); portraits of RAs; and other works either collected or bequeathed. Among the paintings by Fuseli, Turner, Gainsborough and Millais; sculpture by Flaxman and Chantrey; and architectural drawings by Soane and Waterhouse, is Reynolds’ Self-portrait with a bust of Michelangelo; Constable’s famous Leaping Horse (exhibited at the RA in 1825); Sargent’s An Interior in Venice (his Diploma work); Stubbs’ anatomical drawings for his Anatomy of the Horse; and many more works by other and more modern members. Not all works can be shown: the selection changes approximately every 18 months (five months for works on paper).

Further works are displayed on the Norman Shaw staircase, which leads to the restaurant in the basement, a handsome space also designed by Shaw with murals by Harold Speed (Autumn, 1898), Fred Appleyard (Spring Driving away Winter, 1902) and most recently a large scene by Leonard Rosoman (1984–85).

 

 

The Baroque in England

The dramatic art and architecture of the Baroque, with all its theatricality and direct appeal to the senses and emotions, took hold in Britain following the triumphant restoration to the throne of Charles II in 1660, when ‘all arts seemed to return from their exile’. An international court language which bolstered the absolutist regimes of much of Europe, it flourished in Britain until the early 18th century. The period witnessed the architecture of Sir Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor and Sir John Vanbrugh, the vast illusionistic mural paintings of Antonio Verrio, Louis Laguerre and Sir James Thornhill, and the virtuoso limewood carving of Grinling Gibbons. In 1660 Charles II and his courtiers set about equipping the Stuart monarchy with a magnificent setting suitable for the restored regime, inspired by the visual splendour witnessed at the courts of Europe. Baroque culture, with its emphasis on vastness of size, immense cost and grandeur, as well as the theatrical etiquette and ceremony which accompanied it, was used by the Stuart court to underline the power of the monarch and reinforce it in the minds of the people. Outside London, Verrio decorated the ceilings of the remodelled Windsor Castle with vast allegorical scenes celebrating the might of the crown. In London, following the Great Fire of 1666, Sir Christopher Wren’s new St Paul’s Cathedral rose glorious from the ashes, a magnificent symbol of the Anglican nation, its great dome decorated by Thornhill. William and Mary created their great Baroque palace, Hampton Court, in conscious competition with Louis XIV’s Versailles, its painted ceilings and sculpture symbolic of William as the Protestant victor of Europe. Greenwich Hospital, with Thornhill’s supreme masterpiece, the Painted Hall, reflected the magnificence, munificence and charity of the crown.

In an age which, following the 1688 Glorious Revolution, saw the curbing of the absolute authority of the crown and the championing of civil liberty, Whig adherents increasingly associated the reigns of the old Stuart monarchs as periods of aggressive Roman Catholicism, tyrannical government and extravagant ostentation. The Baroque, inextricably bound up with the Stuarts, fell from favour. In its stead came Palladianism, rooted in the ideals of ancient Rome, and hailed as a purer and more restrained form of art. Symptomatic of this change was the renewed interest in the unsullied Classicism of the architecture of Inigo Jones, particularly championed by Lord Burlington and his circle, who saw in its ‘still unravished’ lines a style and culture which better reflected the decorum and gravitas of the new Augustan age.

03.04.2015
13:02

Red House (National Trust)

Address:

Red House Lane, Bexleyheath DA6 8JF

Phone:

020 8304 9878

Website:

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/red-house

Opening times:

March–Sept Wed–Sun and bank holidays 11:00–17:00; Oct–Dec and mid–end Feb Wed–Sun 11:00–16:15 (last admissions 45mins before closing) by guided tour only. Telephone to book. Closed Jan–mid Feb, Mon–Tue (except bank holidays)

How to get there:

Station: Bexleyheath (from Charing Cross/Waterloo East/London Bridge)

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Recently acquired by the National Trust (2003), Red House is a seminal building of the Arts and Crafts Movement and holds an important place in the history of domestic architecture in Britain. Designed by Philip Webb for his friend the artist and designer William Morris, and built on the site of an old orchard, it was completed in 1859 and became the Morris family home for the following five years. Webb’s first independent commission, the house is generally regarded as the first Arts and Crafts building, although it predates by a quarter of a century the coining of the term. Together with the garden, which ‘clothes’ the house, and its interior, designed by Morris, with Rossetti and Burne-Jones, the house encapsulates the aesthetic of Morris, which rejected heavy Victorian opulence and mass production in favour of simplicity and good craftsmanship and design. The experience of Red House inspired Morris’s foundation, in 1861, of the interior design firm Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Company, which produced the wallpapers, fabrics and stained glass furniture so well known today. From 1952–2002 Red House was owned by the Hollamby family, who were sympathetic to its history and who reclaimed much of its original feel, with whitewashed or wallpapered walls, medieval details, such as the staircase with its tall newels, fixed items of furniture such as the hall settle, with unfinished paintings by Morris on the cupboard doors, and stained glass. Continuing restoration will fully restore the house to how it looked in Morris’s day.

03.04.2015
12:58

Ranger’s House (English Heritage)

Address:

Chesterfield Walk, Blackheath, SE10 8QX

Phone:

020-8294 2548

Website:

www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/rangers-house-the-wernher-collection

Opening times:

Open for guided tours only. Sun-Mon-Tue-Wed: 11:00 and 14:00

How to get there:

Station: Greenwich/Blackheath (from Charing Cross/London Bridge)

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Shop

Standing between Blackheath and Greenwich Park, over which it has fine views to the Royal Observatory, Ranger’s House is a handsome mansion built in 1700–20 for Captain, later Admiral, Francis Hosier (1673–1727). Due to its proximity to the royal palace, and later to the Naval College and surrounding shipyards, it was a spot favoured by courtiers and seafaring men. The core of the house is Hosier’s, who made a fortune through the sale of ship’s cargoes. The principal entrance is on the Blackheath side of the house. The delicate but imposing wrought iron gates date from the 1770s. The fine red brick exterior has a Portland stone centrepiece, a modest Baroque flourish, with a carved mask of Neptune above the entrance door. In 1748 the house was owned by Philip, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694–1733), politician and wit, and author of the celebrated letters to his son, who built the south wing of yellow brick, containing a large Gallery probably designed by Isaac Ware (completed 1750). Chesterfield spent every summer here for the last 23 years of his life. The north wing was added by the lawyer and art collector Richard Hulse in the 1780s. In 1807 the house was leased by Augusta, Dowager Countess of Brunswick, sister of George III, and in 1815 it became the official residence of the Ranger of Greenwich Park, by now purely an honorary office. The first Ranger to take up residence was Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester (1777–1848). Other occupants of the house include the young Prince Arthur of Connaught, Queen Victoria’s third son, and Field Marshal Viscount Wolseley, who relieved General Gordon at Khartoum.

 

The House

The Entrance Hall, with its chequered black and white stone floor, dates from Hosier’s day. He furnished it with plain mahogany hall furniture but during Chesterfield’s occupation it had plaster busts displayed on wall brackets. To the right of the Hall is Hosier’s Crimson Camblet Parlour, used by Chesterfield for cards, which leads to the New Gallery, a spacious room with triple bow windows in the centre and at each end. Here Chesterfield displayed his Old Master paintings, with sculpture busts and porcelain in the niches. Hosier’s principal parlour was the Green Silk Damask Parlour, which leads to the Dining Room, where Hosier had crimson damask curtains and a suite of silvered furniture. The room was substantially altered in 1749–50 by Ware. The 1710 Oak Staircase leads up to the Long Gallery or Passage, which retains its original early 18th-century panelling. Off it Hosier had a ‘Cockloft’, a gazebo from which he could train his telescope on ships on the Thames.

 

The Wernher Collection

The house was purchased by the then London County Council in 1902 and restored in 1959–60. Until recently it displayed the important Suffolk Collection of paintings but these have now been moved to Kenwood to make way for the important Wernher Collection of pictures, jewellery and objets d’art, on permanent loan from the Wernher Foundation since 2002. Sir Julius Wernher (1850–1912) was a German diamond merchant who made his fortune (£11 million at his death) in South Africa in the 1870s when his operation merged with De Beers. He settled in England and in 1903 purchased the great Bedfordshire mansion Luton Hoo, which was redecorated in lavish style. Luton Hoo was sold in the 1990s and several key items from the collection were also auctioned, including Titian’s portrait of Giacomo di Agostino Doria, now at the Ashmolean, Oxford. What remains is nonetheless impressive. There are pictures by Joos van Cleve, Hans Memling and Gabriel Metsu; English works by Reynolds, Romney and Hoppner; 18th-century French tapestries; Renaissance bronzes, ivories and enamels; pieces by Fabergé; silver; and porcelain. The important collection of enamelled and gem-studded Renaissance jewellery is shown in the jewel vault.

03.04.2015
12:54

Ragged School Museum

Address:

46–50 Copperfield Road, E3 4RR

Phone:

020-8980 6405

Website:

www.raggedschoolmuseum.org.uk

Opening times:

Wed, Thur 10:00–17:00; first Sun of the month 14:00–17:00

How to get there:

Tube: Mile End; Station: Limehouse (DLR)

Entry fee:

Free

Additional information:

Café and shop

Opened in 1990, the Ragged School Museum is the inspiring result of a local East End initiative to save three historic canalside warehouses from a proposed extension to Mile End Park. The warehouses were built in 1872 and used to store lime juice (hence the name of the local station) and general provisions. Five years later, Dr Thomas Barnardo rented two of the buildings (now No. 46) and added an imposing pediment to them for his Copperfield Road Ragged School for the children of the poor. Here boys and girls aged five to ten, regardless of race or creed, were given a free education, breakfast and dinner. By 1896 they numbered more than a thousand, with almost two and a half thousand attending the Sunday school, the largest in London. Even after expanding into No. 48, the day schools on this site were considered unsuitable for education and closed down by the London County Council in 1906, the children being dispersed to council schools, although evening classes and the Sunday school continued to be run here for another nine years. From 1915 until 1983, and the founding of the Ragged School Museum Trust, the buildings were used as garment factories and warehouses.

The ground-floor display presents the history of the local borough (Tower Hamlets) and the people that have lived and worked here. Snapshots and personal recollections complement artefacts, such as a model of the Bryant and May matchworks in Bromley by Bow, and a tiny model of the Great Eastern made by Bob Hamill, caretaker of Westwoods Engineering on West Ferry Road, where the ship was originally built. Pad hooks used by dockers to grip sacks of sugar, coffee and cocoa are typical of the items used to illustrate life in the East End over the last two centuries.

On the first floor is a re-created Ragged School classroom for 60 to 100 children from c. 1896. Painted in the chocolate brown and primrose yellow stipulated by Dr Barnardo, the room would originally have been lit by gas and heated by one small fire. Pupils studied reading, writing, arithmetic, recitation, grammar and geography and were examined at six standards in each of those six subjects. Teaching made heavy use of the blackboard and repetitive chants, with the pupils seated in ranks of wooden desks equipped with slates and slate pencils, the cost of paper and lead pencils being prohibitive.

03.04.2015
12:50

The Queen’s Gallery

Address:

Buckingham Palace Road, SW1A 1AA

Phone:

020-7766 7300

Website:

www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/the-queens-gallery-buckingham-palace

Opening times:

2 January - 24 July 2015: daily 10:00-17:30
(last admission 16:15)
25 July – 27 September 2015: daily 09:30-17:30
(last admission 16:15)
28 September - 31 December 2015: daily 10:00-17:30
(last admission 16:15)
A typical visit lasts between 1 and 1hour 30 minutes.

How to get there:

Tube/Station: Victoria/Green Park

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Shop (free entry)

The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, with its separate entrance on Buckingham Palace Road, is a permanent display space for changing displays and exhibitions of objects from the enormous and outstanding Royal Collection. The original gallery was built in 1962 on the site of the bomb-damaged private chapel. Discreet, small and inadequate, it has recently undergone a major redevelopment (John Simpson & Partners, 1998–2002) which has tripled the display space. The new classical revival gallery, with echoes of Nash and Soane, has a welcoming Doric portico, but interiors of an elaborate fussiness. From the light, double-height entrance hall, with friezes of Britain’s patron saints, visitors should keep straight ahead for the staircase hall, lined with green columns, and the tall and imposing staircase, with its balustrade of bronze and alabaster lamps, which leads up to the seven display galleries.

 

The Royal Collection

The Royal Collection is one of the finest picture collections in the world, formed by Britain’s monarchs over the centuries from Henry VIII onwards. Many works were part of the exceptional collection of Charles I, a great connoisseur and lover of art, who bought part of the renowned Gonzaga collection of pictures, employed the great van Dyck as his Principal Painter, and owned works by Giulio Romano, Tintoretto, Titian, Raphael and Rubens, among many others. It was Charles I who purchased Raphael’s important ‘Acts of the Apostles’ cartoons (now in the V&A) as well as Mantegna’s Triumphs of Caesar (at Hampton Court). Following Charles I’s execution his collection was dispersed by the Commonwealth government. While some works were eagerly purchased by international bidders, and have now found their way into the great national museums of Europe, many items were either bought back or returned to the restored Charles II by loyal supporters and constitute an important part of the royal picture collection today. The collection also includes major work by British artists; fine Canalettos which entered the collection during the reign of George III; and one of the world’s best collections of 17th-century Dutch pictures, including Vermeer’s A Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman and Rembrandt’s Agatha Bas. Other highlights include Lorenzo Lotto’s Andrea Odoni; works by Dürer and Holbein, and drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. The Royal Collection is rich in other areas. Also displayed are important items of furniture, sculpture, porcelain, silver and gold, miniatures, jewellery and Fabergé and other decorative arts objects.

Displays constantly change, and works from the Royal Collection are also shown at other royal residences in and out of London, as well as at properties administered by Historic Royal Palaces (chiefly Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace).

03.04.2015
12:46

Prince Henry’s Room

Address:

17 Fleet Street, EC4Y 1AA

Phone:

020-7936 2710

Opening times:

Mon–Sat 11:00–14:00

How to get there:

Tube: Blackfriars/Temple/Chancery Lane

Entry fee:

Free

A fine timbered house built in 1610 just inside the Temple Bar which marks the boundary of the City of London, 17 Fleet Street is one of the very few Jacobean houses in the City to have survived the Great Fire of 1666, which died out near St Dunstan’s, Fetter Lane, nearby. When the house was newly built, a room on the first floor was used by Henry, Prince of Wales, the son of King James I, until his early death from typhoid at the age of eighteen in 1612. For the last two years of his life, Henry is believed to have held meetings here to administer the Duchy of Cornwall. The Jacobean plasterwork ceiling is very well preserved, as is one oak-panelled wall, divided into three parts by carved strips with a patterned frieze above. Oak chairs and an elaborately carved refectory table are also of the period, but with no known connection to the room, which now also houses a small display on the indefatigable diarist Samuel Pepys, one of the great chroniclers of the Fire. A letter signed by him can be seen, alongside pictures and information panels on Pepys’ life and times and his work as a naval administrator.

MUSEUMS & GALLERIES OF LONDON

Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

Please do share your comments and updates with us via the form below the entry for each museum.

Latest

National Maritime Museum
Wimbledon Windmill Museum
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
2 Willow Road (National Trust)
William Morris Gallery
Whitechapel Gallery
Westminster Abbey Museum
Wesley's Chapel
Wellington Arch (English Heritage)
Wallace Collection
Victoria & Albert Museum
Tower Bridge Exhibition
Tower of London (Historic Royal Palaces)
Tate Modern
Tate Britain
Sutton House (National Trust)
Spencer House
Southside House
South London Art Gallery
The Courtauld Institute of Art (Somerset House)
Sir John Soane's Museum
Shakespeare’s Globe
Serpentine Gallery
Science Museum
St Bride’s Crypt Museum
St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum
Saatchi Gallery
Royal Society of Arts
The Royal Mews
Royal London Hospital Museum
The Faraday Museum
Royal Hospital Chelsea
RCM Museum of Music
Royal Academy of Music Museum
Royal Academy of Arts
Red House (National Trust)
Ranger’s House (English Heritage)
Ragged School Museum
The Queen’s Gallery
Prince Henry’s Room
The Photographers’ Gallery
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
Osterley Park (National Trust)
Orleans House Gallery
Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret
Natural History Museum
National Portrait Gallery
National Gallery
National Army Museum
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Museum of the Order of St John
Museum No. 1 (Royal Botanic Gardens)
Museum of London
Garden Museum
Museum in Docklands (Museum of London)
The Royal Observatory
The Queen's House
Old Royal Naval College
Marianne North Gallery (Royal Botanic Gardens)
Marble Hill House (English Heritage)
Mall Galleries
Lord’s Tour and MCC Museum
London Transport Museum
London Fire Brigade Museum
London Canal Museum
18 Stafford Terrace – The Sambourne Family Home
Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Leighton House
Kingston Museum
Kew Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
London Museum of Water & Steam
Kenwood House (English Heritage)
Kensington Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
Keats House
Jewish Museum
Jewel Tower (English Heritage)
Jerwood Space
Imperial War Museum
ICA Institute of Contemporary Arts
Hunterian Museum
Horniman Museum
HMS Belfast (Imperial War Museum)
Hayward Gallery
Handel House Museum
Hampton Court Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
Ham House (National Trust)
Guildhall Art Gallery
Guards Museum
Grant Museum of Zoology & Comparative Anatomy
Geffrye Museum of the Home
Fulham Palace
Freud Museum
Foundling Museum
Forty Hall & Estate
Florence Nightingale Museum
Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum
Fenton House (National Trust)
Fashion and Textile Museum
Fan Museum
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
Eltham Palace (English Heritage)
Dulwich Picture Gallery
Dr Johnson’s House
Dennis Severs' House
Danson House
Cutty Sark
Contemporary Applied Arts
Chiswick House (English Heritage)
Chelsea Physic Garden
Chartered Insurance Institute Museum
Charles Dickens Museum
Carlyle’s House (National Trust)
Camden Arts Centre
Cabinet War Rooms & Churchill Museum (Imperial War Museum)
Burgh House - The Hampstead Museum
Buckingham Palace
Brunel Engine House
Brunei Gallery SOAS
British Optical Association Museum
The British Museum
The British Library
Bramah Museum of Tea and Coffee
Black Cultural Archives
Museum of Childhood (Victoria & Albert Museum)
Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Benjamin Franklin House
Ben Uri Gallery - The London Jewish Museum of Art
Barbican Art Gallery
Banqueting House (Historic Royal Palaces)
Bankside Gallery
Bank of England Museum
All Hallows Undercroft Museum
Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum

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