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GUildhall Art Gallery

Address

Guildhall Art Gallery
Guildhall Yard
​London EC2V 5AE

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Accessibility

The Gallery is fully accessible.

Opening hours

Temporarily closed

Based on current Government advice on Coronavirus/Covid-19, we regret to inform you that Guildhall Art Gallery and London's Roman Amphitheatre will be closed to the public until summer 2020, when the situation will be reviewed and, where possible, a specific date for reopening will be published. Further information and updates will be posted on this page as the situation progresses.

For those who have booked tickets or tours,
please email the Gallery for information about cancellations and refunds.

In the meantime, our collections can be viewed online at
Art UK Collage WatercolourWorld Google Arts & Culture, and via the Smartify app. Images from our latest Celebrating City Women exhibition are also online.

The Gallery shows a changing display of about 250 artworks from its collection of paintings, drawings and sculpture, in addition to a programme of temporary exhibitions. The Gallery is also responsible for significant works of art held elsewhere including the monuments in the Guildhall, statues in the Old Bailey and further sculptures and the Harold Samuel Collection of 17th Century Dutch and Flemish Paintings at Mansion House, the Lord Mayor's residence.

Admission Free*

*Exceptions

  • Fees may be charged for some temporary exhibitions (concessions available).
  • Members of the Art Fund receive a 50% discount to temporary exhibitions.
  • All exhibitions are free for members of Museums Association, Friends of Guildhall Art Gallery, under 12s and City residents (with proof of address).

Permanent exhibits

​Victorian paintings

A rich variety of Victorian paintings can be seen as you enter the Gallery, displayed in original 19th century style. The collections illustrate the key artistic movements and influences of the Victorian period, from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, to Orientalism, Classicism and narrative painting.

Pictures of London

The Gallery's collection of London paintings opens a window onto unusual, memorable and colourful scenes from the city's history. Dating from the 17th century onwards, they provide a vivid record of events including The Great Fire of London in 1666 and the opening of Tower Bridge in 1894. Street and crowd scenes capture the look and feel of city life, showing Londoners gathering to watch the Lord Mayor's Show, rushing down Fleet Street, or partying on public holidays.

Exhibitions

women in Edward Burne-Jones painting lounging

The Enchanted Interior

This major upcoming exhibition explores the recurring motif of female subjects in art, as depicted in enclosed, ornate interiors. Such images are inherently alluring yet sinister, carrying implications of enforced isolation. This theme is prevalent in nineteenth-century British painting, with many Pre-Raphaelites and Orientalists showing a fascination with the so-called ‘gilded cage’. Visitors will encounter work by a breath-taking variety of artists from the high Victorian through to Art Nouveau, Aestheticism, Surrealism, and pieces by contemporary women artists, who ‘speak back’ to the historic tradition.

The Enchanted Interior is brought to Guildhall Art Gallery in partnership with Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, and features key works from these and other national collections.

On display 13 March - 14 June 2020

Coming Soon

Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America

Wampum belts are stories of communities and culture. This exhibition centres on a newly-crafted wampum belt created by the Wampanoag people of Massachusetts alongside historic material from the British Museum.

This touring exhibition unites contemporary indigenous artists and educators in the USA with museums and historic collections in Britain. Together, they explore the history, art and culture of the Native Americans who met the passengers of the Mayflower. Wampanoag artists share their story through images, ideas and wampum – the sacred shells of Native America.   

The exhibition is presented by The Box, Plymouth and supported by Arts Council England as part of Mayflower 400.

On display 25 May - 4 July 2020

Noël Coward: Art & Style

Celebrate the dazzling visual side of Coward’s life and work by taking a fresh and vibrant look at the glittering world that Coward created. Bringing together never-before-seen materials from the Coward Archive, the exhibition demonstrates vividly the enormous impact that he and his creative circle had on the fashion and culture of his time, and how his legacy and influence still resonate today. The world première of this new exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of Noël Coward’s West End debut as a 19-year-old playwright.

The Noël Coward Foundation and the City of London Corporation are pleased to announce the exhibition, in partnership with the Noël Coward Archive Trust.

On display 17 July 2020 - 10 January 2021


The Gallery's history

The first Guildhall Art Gallery was built in 1885 to display the City of London Corporation's growing art collection. The project was inspired by the success of new galleries supported by local authorities in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds. It aimed to cater to an 'increased taste for Art' evident in Victorian society. Under the dynamic leadership of its first Director, Alfred Temple, the Gallery ran a series of popular and influential exhibitions and expanded its collection of contemporary 19th century paintings.

The Victorian gallery was almost entirely destroyed by fire during a severe air raid of the Second World War on 10 May 1941. Large parts of the collection had been removed to underground storage in Wiltshire, together with those of other London museums and galleries, but 164 paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints and 20 sculptures were lost. A temporary structure was built on the cleared site in 1946 for use as a ceremonial venue and exhibition space. Selected pieces from the collection and art society shows went on display. The City organised two annual exhibitions, The Lord Mayor’s Art Award and the City of London Art Exhibition, in addition to a series of major loan exhibitions between 1952 and 1972 on topics including Canaletto in England, David Roberts, Samuel Scott and Sir James Thornhill.

In 1985 the City decided to redevelop the site and add a new Gallery on its lower levels. The architect was Richard Gilbert Scott, who had earlier worked on the Guildhall restoration and designed the new Guildhall Library and West Wing of 1974. In 1987 the remains of the original Gallery were demolished. Shortly afterwards the Museum of London Archaeological Service discovered the remains of London's Roman Amphitheatre and the building was re-designed to incorporate this astounding piece of architectural history. The new Guildhall Art Gallery finally opened to the public in August 1999 and the Amphitheatre in 2002. In late 2014, coinciding with the 15th anniversary of its re-opening, the Gallery underwent a re-hang, doubling the number of paintings on display and presenting a new curatorial selection.


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