Adult Entry: £5 Nearest Tube: Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line)
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 →
Adult Entry: £11 Nearest Tube: Victoria (District, Circle, and Victoria lines)
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 →
Adult Entry: £12 Nearest Tube: Holborn or Tottenham Court Road
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 →
Adult Entry: £18.50 Nearest Tube: Blackfriars, District & Circle Lines
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 →
Adult Entry: Free Nearest Tube: Holborn, Central Line
As someone who works day-to-day with the dry, safe, non-organic collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, it was a considerable step outside of my comfort zone to visit the biological repository that is the Hunterian Museum. The museum, housed within the Royal College of Surgeons, holds around 3,500 ‘specimens’, which is a pleasant way of saying ‘dead things in jars’.
Adult Entry: Exhibition £14 Nearest Tube: High Street Kensington, District & Circle Line
Breaking: New Museum Opens In South Kensington! In other news; independent coffee shop opens between a Starbucks and a Costa. Casualties expected.
It takes guts for an upstart museum to shoulder its way into the territory of multiple very established institutions. How could the Design Museum compete with the collections housed at the V&A or NHM? Fortune, we are told, favours the bold, but perhaps it also favours the principled. Continue reading →
Lets move to our second case study: The Temple of Dendur. This temple was removed in its entirety from Egypt and brought to a specially created room in the Met, where it was faithfully reconstructed. It stands in a tranquil hall, one glass wall looking out onto Central Park, surrounded by a shallow canal. The room could not do a better job of inciting the grandeur and serenity of the original temple.
Do we interpret that the available space has improved the interpretation? Or perhaps only that the available space has increased the maximum quality achievable for that object. Continue reading →