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A Short Guide to the National Portrait Gallery

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The National Portrait Gallery owes its existence mainly to three eminent Victorians, Philip Henry Stanhope, Thomas Babington Macaulay and Thomas Carlyle. Stanhope first introduced the idea for the Gallery in 1846, however it was not until 1856 when The National Portrait Gallery was formally established. One of the first pictures donated was by one of the original trustees Lord Ellesmere.

Unusually the National Portrait Gallery was established with the criteria that the Gallery was to be about history, more than art, and centred around the status of the sitter. Originally, it was decided by the Trustees that “No portrait of any person still living, or deceased less that 10 years, shall be admitted by purchase, donation, or bequest, except only in the case of the reigning Sovereign, and of his or her Consort”. However this rule changed in 1969 to encourage portraits of living sitters.

In the early years of the Gallery, it had no permanent home and was run by George Scharf, an illustrator who was responsible for all aspects of the Gallery. Originally housed at 29 Great George Street, Westminster. The Gallery then moved to the Royal Horticultural Society’s buildings on Exhibition Road in South Kensington in 1869, following a fire, the collection was then moved to the Bethnal Green Museum in 1885.

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There were calls to find a permanent home for the Gallery, In 1889, philanthropist, William Henry Alexander offered to pay for a permanent building, provided the government gave a site within a mile and a half of St James’s Street, and Lord Salisbury for the government accepted the offer and donor’s condition and found a site which had previously been occupied by St Martin’s Workhouse to the north-east of the National Gallery.

The doors were opened in 1896 and 4,200 people visited the new building on the opening day. Its success led to a growing collection and negotiations for expansion. In 1928 the art dealer and benefactor, Sir Joseph Duveen agreed to fund a £40,000 extension, which greatly expanded the available space.

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In the late 1960s, two exhibitions, Cecil Beaton’s photographs in 1968 and the Queen’s portrait by Annigoni raised the profile of the Gallery considerably and attendance figures rose significantly.

There has further developments since and National Portrait Gallery is considered one of the best galleries in London and in 2014 received over two million visitors. As well as the permanent Collection, the Gallery stages six major exhibitions and more than ten special displays a year and runs a full and varied programme of events and an extensive learning and outreach programme. There is also an IT Gallery , a state-of-the-art lecture theatre, a book shop, and the roof-top Portrait Restaurant with views across Trafalgar Square.

Part of the Gallery’s success is the innovative way they bring together different portraits to tell the story of a person or event. They also promote portrait painting by holding several prestigious competitions.

For more information, visit the National Portrait Gallery website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Review : RHS London Frost Fair at Lindley Hall – 1st November 2015

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On a beautiful warm autumn day it was a pleasure to go to Westminster to visit the RHS London Frost Fair at Lindley Hall.

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The RHS London shows  are one of the horticultural delights of London and the RHS London  Frost Fair which is based on a European winter market theme is the ideal place to find that unusual present with a large variety of food, drinks, gifts and winter plants on offer.

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To get you into the Christmas spirit, at the entrance is a live Reindeer family enjoying the attention and a few carrots.

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Just because it will soon be winter does not mean that you cannot have plenty of colour and there is a wide variety of plants to brighten up the cold winters nights.

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The RHS shows have a great belief in promoting crafts and run workshops to promote skills, today it was the turn of   the Secret Adventurers’ Club  who  hold free workshops to make Christmas tree decorations from natural materials.

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Being near the festive season, there was a wide range of food and drink options including the world champion Blue cheese made in Bath. If you are looking for that unusual gift, there is a variety of stalls to browse and some of the top nurseries are selling their best winter plants.

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The RHS Gardening experts will be hand to answer those horticultural questions and throughout the day there is a series of informative talks including Victoria Summerley who will take you on a personal tour of a selection of gardens from her new book, Great Gardens of London which will be followed by a signing session.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the RHS website here

RHS London Frost Fair – 1 November 2015

Admission price:
£5 (+ delivery fee) in advance
£8 on the day

Opening times:
10am – 4pm

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

RHS London Frost Fair – 1st November 2015

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The RHS London shows  provide plenty of horticultural delight all through the year with a series of themed events, the last show of this year is the 2015 RHS London  Frost Fair which will be based on a European winter market theme with a large variety of food, drinks, gifts and winter plants.

The RHS London Frost Fair will be held in the RHS Lindley Hall on Sunday 1 November from 10am-4pm and will help you get into the festive spirit with the Secret Adventurers’ Club  who will hold free workshops to make Christmas tree decorations from natural materials and a live Reindeer family will make an appearance.

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If you are looking for that unusual gift, there will be a variety of stalls to browse and some of the top nurseries will be selling their best winter plants.

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The RHS Gardening experts will be hand to answer those horticultural questions and throughout the day there is a series of informative talks including Victoria Summerley who will take you on a personal tour of a selection of gardens from her new book, Great Gardens of London which will be followed by a signing session.

Food and drink will be available from a variety of outlets to help you relax and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the RHS website here

RHS London Frost Fair – 1 November 2015

Admission price:
£5 (+ delivery fee) in advance
£8 on the day

Opening times:
10am – 4pm

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show – 8th to 13th September 2015

Visitors look at exhibitor displays at the RHS Wisley Flower Show 2014.

Photo (RHS)

One of the Royal Horticultural Society’s top gardens, RHS Garden Wisley is the location of the RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show which begins on the 8th September 2015. The six-day flower festival (8-13 September 2015) will offer visitors the chance to enjoy a wide  range of plants and flowers, seek the best gardening advice and explore the garden. RHS Ambassador Mary Berry opens this year’s show.

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Photo (RHS)

The flower show will be a late summer feast with 50 nurseries displaying and selling plants and more than 100 exhibitors competing for top prizes in the National Dahlia Society Annual Show.  Displays of floral art under the theme ‘Roll Up! Roll Up!’ by members of the Surrey area of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) will be displayed in The Glasshouse.

National Dahlia Society Annual Show, 8 – 11 September

Admire the best in dahlia cultivation and colour as part of the RHS Wisley Flower Show. More than 100 exhibitors will be vying for top prizes in all classes with their stunning blooms. From 12 – 13 September, you can see a selection of dahlia displays from the National Dahlia Society and Pheasant Acre Plants.

Surrey NAFAS Floral Display, 8 – 13 September

The Surrey area of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) will be exhibiting their stunning floral art creations under the theme ‘Roll up! Roll up!’ in the beautiful setting of the Glasshouse. Glasshouse open 10am – 5pm, last entry 4.45pm

Dahlias at the RHS Hyde Hall Flower Show 2014.

Photo (RHS)

Many of the UK’s best nurseries, including 28 RHS Chelsea Flower Show medal winners will attend. New nurseries at this year’s show include Beth Chatto’s Nursery with drought tolerant plants and Harkness Roses.

A varied programme of talks during the show will give visitors the chance to learn from the experts. Specialist nursery owners and RHS Garden Wisley team members will be on hand for advice.Talks throughout the show offer inspiration on a range of gardening topics, from Mediterranean gardening and orchid cultivation to how to control Britain’s number one pest – the slug. The show also offers the chance for free, authoritative gardening advice from the Royal Horticultural Society.

A visitor admires a display of lilies at the RHS Wisley Flower Show

Photo (RHS)

Visitors to the show can enjoy the bright and beautifully scented herbaceous borders and the creative inspiration of the Surrey Sculpture Society Trail. Around 60 sculptures from established and up-and-coming artists from across South East England will be on display throughout the garden and available to buy.

There are a number of meals available at the Wisley restaurant for the show, many using produce grown at Wisley itself.

Breakfast 9am–10.30am, £12 adult, £6 child

Lunch 12pm–2.30pm, £24 adult, £8 child

Afternoon tea 3.30pm–5pm, £14 adult, £6 child

Free shuttle bus from Horsley Station

For those visiting the RHS Wisley Flower Show, there will be  a free shuttle bus from Horsley station every day of the show – buses will leave every 20 minutes throughout each day and it only takes 15 minutes each way. You’ll be dropped off in the heart of the garden near the Glasshouse where the NAFAS Floral Display is, and it is a short walk from the main exhibitor area.

The first shuttle bus will run from Horsley Station at 9.30am. The last shuttle bus from Wisley leaves from the rear of the Glasshouse at 5.15pm – note this is 45 minutes before the garden (and show) closes. Between 1.30pm and 3.30pm the service from Wisley to Horsley leaves every 30 minutes – at .00 and .30 minutes past the hour.
At Horsley the bus will pick up/drop off outside Horsley station on the forecourt. At Wisley the bus will pick up/drop off at the back of the Glasshouse near the South African Meadow. Bus stops will be clearly marked, as will the bus.

The shuttle bus is free for all visitors to Wisley – members and non-members. Shuttle bus users do not need to have a train ticket.

There will also be a Free shuttle bus from Woking Station

Show hours

8 – 12 September: 9am – 6pm
13  September: 9am – 5pm

Last entry one hour before closing.

Admission

Entry to the RHS Wisley Flower Show is free to RHS Members and one family guest. For non-RHS Members the show is included in normal garden admission.

Travel by train to RHS Wisley Flower Show and enjoy 25% off your garden entry ticket. Present your valid train ticket at the ticket office to claim your discount.

If you would like further information or buy tickets, visit the RHS website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Review : RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – 30th June to 5th July 2015

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This year will be 25th year of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The show was first held in 1990 and created by Historic Royal Palaces and Network Southeast. In 1992 Network Southeast announced that it was withdrawing its subsidy, and the RHS was the successful bidder to take the show over. The first RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show was held in 1993.

Although it lacks the history of the Chelsea Flower Show, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show has a Royal setting and in a relatively short time has established itself as one of the world’s largest flower shows.

It is the size of the showground that makes Hampton Court Flower Show very different from Chelsea with much more room to explore the gardens and the displays.

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The issue of small gardens in particular are in the news,  A new RHS campaign, Greening Grey Britain was launched in April to reverse the trend in declining green spaces after it was found that three times as many front gardens are now paved over compared to ten years ago – more than half of all gardens in London contain no plants. This is a cause for concern on many levels with plenty of evidence that green spaces play a major part in promoting health and wellbeing.

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The Wellbeing of Women Garden champions the therapeutic benefits of gardening. Wellbeing of Women is a charity that funds research into issues that affect women’s health. Garden designers Wendy von Buren, Claire Moreno and Amy Robertson were inspired by personal experience, to champion the charity’s work and shine a spotlight on the health benefits of gardening.

Each year the show has particular themes and this year  they are  Grow, Feast and Inspire.

In Grow, keen gardeners have access to a range of nursery displays and plant stalls, with RHS advisors on hand to offer expert tips to take back to their own gardens. Dominating the Grow zone is the Floral Marquee  where you can see award-winning nurseries from the UK and abroad and buy from a large selection of beautiful plants.

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Next to the Floral Marquee is The Plant Village with a wide range of stands to find those gifts and Plant Heritage where you can  get specialist advice .

Food is the priority in the Feast zone , visitors can find out how to grow their favourite vegetables, taste a wealth of fine foods and take away growing ideas to try at home.

Over the week top  cooking and growing experts will be demonstrating their skills including James Wong, Greg Wallace, Rachel de Thame and Rachel Allen.

There is plenty of top food outlets around the showground to explore and many producers have stands in the Great Tastes market.

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One of the highlights of the show is the small gardens that encourages and inspires visitors to think about contemporary garden design.  There are a large number of  Show Gardens, Conceptual Gardens and Summer Gardens, World gardens celebrating  Turkey, Sri Lanka, USA, Normandy and the Aegean  give the show an international feel.

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This year there are Historical Gardens that celebrate Winnie the Pooh, the Magna Carta and the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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Other highlights of the show are the Festival of Roses, Floristry Marquee  and top gardeners giving talks in the RHS Celebrity Theatre.

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The show has everything for the horticultural minded with a large number of trade stands and RHS stands that tell you more about the work of the RHS and give advice and information about community and gardening groups.

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The show has its own child’s area marked by a giant scarecrow, other scarecrows can decorated by children for a competition. Children are entertained in a number of ways including a Kid’s Cookery School.

With good weather expected for this week, the Hampton Court Flower Show will be a popular destination for plant lovers, in its picturesque setting next to Hampton Court Palace and the Thames it offers a great deal to visitors.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Show times

Tuesday to Saturday (30 June – 4 July) 10am – 7.30pm
Sunday (5 July)10am – 5.30pm *

* (plant sell off 4.30pm)

Tickets

Tuesday and Wednesday are days reserved for RHS Members Only

Tickets are available for Thursday to Sunday for the General Public.

Transport

Hampton Court and Kingston stations are approximately 30 minutes from London Waterloo, with frequent trains. The showground is a 15 minute walk or short ferry ride (£2.50 for a single journey) from Hampton Court station, or a 30 minute cruise from Kingston station (£6 single, £7.50 return).

To find out more about the event or to buy tickets to the show , visit the RHS website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Review : RHS London Orchid Show at the Royal Horticultural Halls – 9 to 12 April 2015

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Venue: RHS Horticultural Halls, Greycoat Street, Westminster, London SW1P 2QW

The RHS London Orchid Show is part of  the prestigious European Orchid Conference in London, which welcomes experts and enthusiasts from all over the world.

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Walking into the Royal Horticultural Halls  offers a dazzling array of orchids  from professional growers, orchid societies and botanical gardens from around Europe. There are also traders from around the world  offering their newest hybrids and unusual orchid species.

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Complimenting the amazing displays of orchids is a number of displays that allows visitors to learn and understand the many different aspects of orchid growing.

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If you are having problems with your orchids, there is expert advice from leading nurserymen and RHS experts.

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There is also information of the history of orchid collecting, orchid hunting was surprisingly dangerous and a number of collectors never returned from their collecting trips. The show also highlights that the attraction of orchids is leading to a threat to their natural habitats and highlights some of the schemes that have been implemented to counteract this threat.

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The exotic appeal of orchids inspires plenty of artists and there are a number of  stalls selling paintings, drawings jewellery and even fashion accessories.

The show features a series of talks and practical demonstrations into orchid growing which will appeal to the expert and the beginner.

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Like most RHS shows, there is something for everyone whether you are an enthusiast or  just enjoy looking at the dazzling displays.  This show offers  visitors an opportunity to admire, learn and purchase  rare, hardy and exotic orchids.

EOC Show entry:
RHS members:  £5 in advance; £8 on the day
Public: £9 in advance; £11 on the day

To find out more or to buy tickets to the show , visit the RHS website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

RHS London Orchid Show at the Royal Horticultural Halls – 9 to 12 April 2015

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Venue: RHS Horticultural Halls, Greycoat Street, Westminster, London SW1P 2QW

The RHS London Orchid Show is hosting the prestigious European Orchid Conference in London, welcoming experts and enthusiasts from all over the world. The show and the conference gives visitors an opportunity to admire, learn and purchase  rare, hardy and exotic orchids.

The show will be based in the Royal Horticultural Halls in London with displays from professional growers, orchid societies and botanical gardens from around Europe. Traders from around the world will be offering their newest hybrids and unusual orchid species.

The international conference will be held in various locations with lectures by some of the most eminent speakers from around the world exploring new developments in orchid science, hardy orchids, general cultivation, breeding and exploration.

The show begins with a Preview Evening on the  8th April, 6.30pm–9pm

Highlights of the show include :
Sensational displays by the world’s best orchid growers, including the newest hybrids and unusual orchid species.
Expert advice from leading nurserymen and RHS experts.
Beginners and experts can learn more about orchid growing at a series of talks and practical demonstrations.

RHS European Orchid Show

EOC Preview evening: (includes repeat visit on ONE show day)
RHS Members (in advance): £12
RHS Members (on the day): £16
Public (in advance): £14
Public (on the day): £18

EOC Show entry:
RHS members:  £5 in advance; £8 on the day
Public: £9 in advance; £11 on the day
NB: Members may purchase up to four tickets at the member rate for the Orchid Show.

To find out more about the Conference or to buy tickets to the show , visit the RHS website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here