About EuanS

I work for the British Museum and enjoy exploring London's cultural heritage. I hope my reviews can inspire your next detour in the capital.

Wellington Arch

Adult Entry: £5
Nearest Tube: Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line)

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There is a road in London dissecting Green Park, confusingly named Constitution Hill. This is confusing because a) the road has no discernible rise, and b) Britain has no constitution. A quick search revealed that it was actually named because of King Charles II’s selection of this route for his ‘constitutional walks’. Presumably he referred to it as a hill to make these walks sound more impressive, and being king, no one dared contradict him. We’ve started with this London esoterica because of the destination that is the west terminal of Constitution Hill: the Wellington Arch. Originally intended to be a magnificent gateway into Buckingham Palace, the arch has had a tumultuous history resulting in revisions, statue changes, and even a wholescale relocation by a few hundred metres to make way for a bigger road. Continue reading

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Hope in Hintze Hall

Adult Entry: Free
Nearest Tube: South Kensington (District & Circle, Piccadilly lines)

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One of the first things that hits you as you enter the newly-presented Hintze Hall at the Natural History Museum is movement. ‘Hope’ the whale arches at the apex of her dive, drawing your eyes in a graceful curve from the tip of skeletal tail to iconic gaping mouth. Historically, museums were restrained to a furiously horizontal suspension. Hope reinvigorates this assumption, brushing aside the old restraints as she dives silently towards the crowds below. Continue reading

Canaletto & The Art Of Venice, Queen’s Gallery

Adult Entry: £11
Nearest Tube: Victoria (District, Circle, and Victoria lines)

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If asked to name some of the great British collections of antiquities and art, you would probably start with the well-known national museums. What you probably wouldn’t start with, or indeed mention at all, is the Royal Collection. That’s right, the Queen has quite a collection of art and antiquities- she even has her own gallery. In fact, the Royal Collection includes some surprisingly famous pieces, for example the Crouching Aphrodite (Lely’s Venus); a star piece at the British Museum. Continue reading

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave

Adult Entry: £12
Nearest Tube: Holborn or Tottenham Court Road

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In the history of museum exhibitions, big names do well. Tutankhamen; The First Emperor (and his Terracotta Warriors); Pompeii. In that order they make up the most popular exhibitions ever hosted at the British Museum. With that in mind, the British Museum have rolled out another big hitter for the summer: Hokusai. Continue reading

Giacometti, Tate Modern

Adult Entry: £18.50
Nearest Tube: Blackfriars, District & Circle Lines

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It is very difficult to review the exhibition of an artist that you love. There is constant temptation to wax lyrical about the art itself rather than the exhibition, making an interesting essay but a poor review. I have tried to ignore the Giacometti’s ability to contain such potential energy with his static figures, or comment on the unrefined emotion straining from every angle of those unbearably human faces. Putting my (admittedly first-world) struggles to one side, imagine how high I set my expectations upon hearing of this Giacometti blockbuster exhibition at the Tate Modern.  Continue reading

From Selfie to Self-Expression

Adult Entry: Free
Nearest Tube: South Kensington, Circle and District Lines

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If there’s one thing people love, its themselves. The moment humankind found a suitable surface 30,000 years ago we have not stopped drawing, painting, and photographing our own image. Gods, monsters, predator and prey- all have been the subject of humanity’s artistry. Most alluringly though, we have forever sought to depict ourselves. From stiff militaristic portraits to bold exposures of vulnerability (perhaps merely two sides of the same narcissistic coin) we are desperate to understand ourselves through self-expression. Such a topic would self-evidently be too broad for one exhibition, and so this entertaining installation at the Saatchi Gallery cherry-picks some interesting juxtapositions, and current observations, to explore. Continue reading

Every Object Tells A Story

Adult Entry: Free
Nearest Tube: South Kensington

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The title of this exhibition, ‘Every Objects Tells A Story’, hangs somewhere between pretentious and redundant, and is all the more disappointing because of how good everything else about it is. That dealt with, I can begin my praise of this uniquely presented exhibition.

Continue reading