We’re going up to London for the day, what would you recommend that we see? Is a question that I get asked often. So without further ado here are my Top Ten London Exhibitions Summer 2017.
GIOVANNI DA RIMINI at the NATIONAL GALLERY
Don’t you just love showing off your latest purchases? Well so does the National Gallery. With the help of Ronald S Lauder (of face cream fame) the gallery has acquired this fourteenth century masterpiece. They have a small but perfectly formed exhibition to celebrate the latest addition to the collection and its FREE! Pop in to say welcome whilst you visit the rest of the collection.
HOKUSAI: BEYOND THE GREAT WAVE at the BRITISH MUSEUM
The Great Wave is one of the most famous images around. Although Hokusai produced many, many prints of the enormous wave it was not all that he did. Cockerels, fish and sublime Japanese landscapes are on show at the British Museum.
DIANA: HER FASHION STORY at KENSINGTON PALACE
Diana, Princess of Wales wore some pretty stunning frocks. Now you can get up close and personal with some of the most famous outfits in an exhibition at her former home Kensington Palace. When I visited the queues were enormous, so make sure you buy a ticket first!
SERPENTINE PAVILION 2017 at the SERPENTINE GALLERY
Just a short step away from Kensington Palace across Kensington Gardens is the Serpentine Gallery. Every summer the trustees of the gallery invite an architect who has never had a building constructed in London before to design a temporary pavilion in their grounds. This year it is the turn of Burkina Faso born Francis Kéré, he has produced a light and airy wooden structure that is inspired by the tree that forms the social hub of the village that he grew up in. Whilst you are there pop into the gallery to see Grayson Perry’s “The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!” Both Perry’s pots and the pavilion are free.
CANALETTO AND THE ART OF VENICE at the QUEEN’S GALLERY
The Queen owns more Canaletto paintings than anybody else and they are all on show this summer at the Queen’s Gallery. When George III bought them what he was really interested in was the books that they came with. Such a large selection of paintings came in handy to hang on the empty walls of the newly acquired Buckingham House. Large queues form to visit Buckingham Palace every summer, but walk a little further beyond the visitor entrance to the Palace and you will find the Queen’s Gallery that is rarely troubled by long lines. Even better, your ticket lasts for a year.
SUMMER EXHIBITION at the ROYAL ACADEMY
One of the great set pieces of a London summer is the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. It is the largest public submission art show in the world. Anybody: you, me or your kids can submit a piece of work for the consideration of the hanging committee. Most of the work on show is for sale with a percentage going to the Royal Academy to fund other exhibitions. Some of the price tags are for hundreds of pounds rather than thousands, so keep your credit card handy in case you feel like splashing out!
ROBOTS at the SCIENCE MUSEUM
Robots in all shapes and sizes are on show at the Science Museum this summer. From medieval religious automata to the very latest humanoid creation. Kids will love this but, even if you don’t have a child in tow, it is well worth going to see just how far robotics has come along.
BALENCIAGA: SHAPING FASHION at the V&A
Turn right out of the Science Museum and head down Exhibition Road to the new entrance of the V&A. Here you can see Balenciaga’s ballgowns. Whilst not the household name, of say, Dior or Yves St Laurent, Balenciaga created stunning gowns and his ideas were often picked up by his more famous contemporaries.
PINK FLOYD: THEIR MORTAL REMAINS at the V&A
Whilst you are in the V&A why not check out the Pink Floyd exhibition. I am a tad too young and was too smitten by the Bay City Rollers to have really taken notice of Pink Floyd when they were in their pomp. If it was your brother that played their albums at top volume and not you, don’t shun this exhibition. I found it fascinating and it made me head home and dial up Dark Side of the Moon on my music streaming service.
PERFUME: A SENSORY JOURNEY THROUGH CONTEMPORARY SCENT at SOMERSET HOUSE
Finally, I confess that I haven’t been to Perfume yet. I have tickets booked to go in late July with girlfriends. Everything that I have heard about this interactive, multi-sensory journey through modern perfumes makes me want to visit. Counting the days. Watch this space for my review!
These are my current favourite London exhibitions, what are yours?
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