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William Blake at Tate Britain from 11 September 2019 to 2 February 2020

This autumn, Tate Britain will present the largest survey of work by William Blake (1757-1827) in the UK for a generation. A visionary painter, printmaker and poet, Blake created some of the most iconic images in the history of British art and has remained an inspiration to artists, musicians, writers and performers worldwide for over two centuries. This exhibition will bring together over 300 remarkable and rarely seen works and rediscover Blake as a visual artist for the 21st century.

Tate Britain will reimagine the artist’s work as he intended it to be experienced. Blake’s art was a product of his tumultuous times, with revolution, war and progressive politics acting as the crucible of his unique imagination, yet he struggled to be understood and appreciated during his life.

Now renowned as a poet, Blake also had grand ambitions as a visual artist and envisioned vast frescos that were never realised. For the first time, The Spiritual Form of Nelson Guiding Leviathan c.1805-9 and The Spiritual Form of Pitt Guiding Behemoth c.1805 will be digitally enlarged and projected onto the gallery wall on the huge scale that Blake imagined. The original artworks will be displayed nearby in a restaging of Blake’s ill-fated exhibition of 1809, the artist’s only significant attempt to create a public reputation for himself as a painter. Tate will recreate the domestic room above his family hosiery shop in which the show was held, allowing visitors to encounter the paintings exactly as people did in 1809.

The exhibition will provide a vivid biographical framework in which to consider Blake’s life and work. There will be a focus on London, the city in which he was born and lived for most of his life. The burgeoning metropolis was a constant inspiration for the artist, offering an environment in which harsh realities and pure imagination were woven together. His creative freedom was also dependent on the unwavering support of those closest to him, his friends, family and patrons.

The exhibition will highlight the vital presence of his wife Catherine who offered both practical assistance and became an unacknowledged hand in the production of his engravings and illuminated books. The exhibition will showcase a series of illustrations to Pilgrim’s Progress 1824-27 and a copy of the book The complaint, and the consolation Night Thoughts 1797, now thought to be coloured by Catherine.

Tate Britain’s exhibition will open with Albion Rose c.1793, an exuberant visualisation of the mythical founding of Britain, created in contrast to the commercialisation, austerity and crass populism of the times. A section of the exhibition will also be dedicated to his illuminated books such as Songs of Innocence and of Experience 1794, his central achievement as a radical poet.

Additional highlights will include a selection of works from the Royal Collection and some of his best-known paintings including Newton 1795-c.1805 and Ghost of a Flea c.1819-20. This intricate work was inspired by a séance-induced vision and will be shown alongside a rarely seen preliminary sketch. The exhibition will close with The Ancient of Days 1827, a frontispiece for an edition of Europe: A Prophecy, completed only days before the artist’s death.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Britain website here

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Tate Exhibitions in London 2019

The Tate organisation have announced highlights of its 2019 exhibitions for their galleries in London. In January 2019, Tate Modern will open with Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory, showing how this innovative and much-loved French painter captured fleeting moments in time with his beautifully coloured landscapes and intimate domestic scenes. This will be followed by a survey of Franz West’s irreverent and playful sculptures, collages and installations in an exhibition specially designed by his friend and fellow artist Sarah Lucas. Tate Modern will also stage the first retrospective of Dorothea Tanning since her death in 2012 at the age of 101, exploring how her dreamlike paintings and eerie soft sculptures challenged ideas about the body and identity over a career spanning seven decades.

Tate Britain’s landmark show The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain will run alongside a retrospective of acclaimed photographer Don McCullin, featuring his powerful images of conflict in Vietnam, Northern Ireland and Syria as well as scenes of urban life and rural landscape in Britain.

The season will also see new contemporary works unveiled with the annual Tate Britain Commission for the Duveen Galleries and the third BMW Tate Live Exhibition in the Tanks at Tate Modern.

In summer 2019 Tate’s programme brings together a wide variety of art forms, from stage and costume designs to immersive and interactive installations.

Tate Britain will showcase the vibrant abstract paintings of Frank Bowling in his first UK museum retrospective, covering the entirety of his long and distinguished career.

Tate Modern will open two survey shows, both focusing on artists who have pushed the boundaries of art, worked across multiple disciplines and staged their work in innovative ways. The UK’s largest ever Natalia Goncharova exhibition will highlight her role as a leader of the Russian avant-garde and a trailblazing figure in painting and design. Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, renowned for his captivating installations like The weather project in 2003 and for his social and environmental projects like Little Sun, will return to Tate Modern for a large-scale exhibition and an outdoor artwork in July 2019.

The autumn sees a striking pairing of historic and contemporary artists at Tate Britain. The gallery’s first William Blake exhibition for a generation will take a bold new look at this radical and ambitious artist, who worked at a time of war, revolution and oppression. It will coincide with a major show of Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey’s explorations of pop culture and the digital world.
Technological innovation will also be a key theme in Tate Modern’s spectacular Nam June Paik retrospective, revealing the Korean artist’s pivotal role in the birth of video and TV art around the world. The annual Hyundai Commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall will also be unveiled in the autumn.

EXHIBITION DATES

Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory (23 Jan – 6 May 2019, Tate Modern)
Don McCullin (5 Feb – 6 May 2019, Tate Britain)
Franz West (20 Feb – 2 Jun 2019, Tate Modern)
Dorothea Tanning (27 Feb – 9 Jun 2019, Tate Modern)
Tate Britain Commission (12 Mar – 6 Oct 2019, Tate Britain)
BMW Tate Live Exhibition (22 – 31 Mar 2019, Tate Modern)
The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain (27 Mar – 11 Aug 2019, Tate Britain)
Frank Bowling (31 May – 28 Aug 2019, Tate Britain)
Natalia Goncharova (6 Jun – 8 Sep 2019, Tate Modern)
Olafur Eliasson (11 Jul 2019 – 5 Jan 2020, Tate Modern)
William Blake (11 Sep 2019 – 2 Feb 2020, Tate Britain)
Mark Leckey (24 Sep 2019 – 5 Jan 2020, Tate Britain)
Hyundai Commission (2 Oct 2019 – 5 Apr 2020, Tate Modern)
Nam June Paik: The Future Is Now (17 Oct 2019 – 9 Feb 2020, Tate Modern)

For more information, visit the Tate 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.
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A Short Guide to The Royal Academy of Arts

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The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is one of the major art institutions in London and is based at Burlington House in Piccadilly. Unlike many other art institutions, The RA is an independent, privately funded institution led by artists. Whose mission is to promote not just the appreciation and understanding of art, but also its practice.

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The RA has an illustrious history being formed with the support of King George III, the idea was to form a society for promoting the Arts of Design. Although there were other artist societies, they generally just put on exhibitions. The RA wanted to become Britain’s first art school and provide a space to put on exhibitions that would advertise the talents of its members.

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Among the founder members were acclaimed painters Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and Benjamin West. The R A was based first in a small gallery in Pall Mall before moving into the old then new Somerset House in 1780. The Academy then moved to the New National Gallery in 1837 before in 1868 locating in its present home in Burlington House in Piccadilly. Artists that have studied at the RA school have included J. M. W. Turner, William Blake, Thomas Rowlandson, John Constable and Edwin Landseer.

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The RA Schools is still an important part of the Academy and offers free tuition to all who study here. To help to fund the schools and other activities, the RA put on a series of world-class exhibitions throughout the year. Recent exhibitions have featured well known artists Ai Weiwei and Anselm Kiefer, but also feature lesser known artists like American abstract artist Richard Diebenkorn and the Renaissance artst Giovanni Battista Moroni.

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One of the most prestigious events of the Academy is the annual Royal Academy summer exhibition of new art, which is a well-known event on the London social calendar. Anyone can submit pictures for inclusion in the exhibition and those selected join the works of the Academicians. There are a number of social events associated with the exhibition and many of the works are available for purchase.

The Royal Academy of Arts is based in Burlington House, Piccadilly W1J 0BD.

Opening times

Monday 10am – 6pm
Tuesday 10am – 6pm
Wednesday 10am – 6pm
Thursday 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 10pm
Saturday 10am – 6pm
Sunday 10am – 6pm

For more information, visit the RA 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.
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A Short Guide to Primrose Hill

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Primrose Hill is a hill of 213 feet (65 m) which is located on the northern side of Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill is also the surrounding neighbourhood. The top of the hill is one of the most popular vantage points in London giving clear views of central London.

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This part of London was part of a large forest and there is evidence that trees populated the hill’s slopes until the fourteenth century. The summit had been cleared long before that and there are suggestions part of the hill was used as a burial mound, this part of Primrose Hill became known as ‘Barrow Hill’ which survived until the 19th century when it was levelled to accommodate a large water reservoir.

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Like many London parks, Primrose Hill was once part of a great chase which was appropriated by Henry VIII and was then owned by Eton College until 1841 when it became Crown property and secured as a public open space. Primrose Hill with its proximity to central London has been a popular landmark for centuries attracting a large number of writers, poets and artists.

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On the summit is a stone with a William Blake inscription, which reads: I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill. Watching the sunrise or the sunset from the top of the hill is a popular attraction for a large number of people. The hill has been popular for less savoury pastimes, Duels and prize-fights have taken place and in the 17th century, Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey was found mysteriously murdered on the hill.

From the 19th century, residential development around Primrose Hill has created one of the more fashionable districts in London between the centre and the suburbs. Fortunately this development all around the hill did not to fulfilment of the prophecy of Mother Shipton, England’s most famous prophetess of the 16th century who said that when London shall surround Primrose Hill the streets of the metropolis will run with blood.

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The hill and the area has been a popular place to live for a large number of writers and have featured in a large number of books. It has also been popular with musicians, the Beatles, Madness and Loudon Wainwright III are just a few to be inspired.

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The Primrose Hill district is surrounded by St Johns Wood, Swiss Cottage, Belsize park, Chalk Farm, Camden and Regent’s Park is south of the hill. The nearest underground stations to Primrose Hill are Chalk Farm and Swiss Cottage.

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.
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A Short Guide to Tate Britain

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The origins of Tate Britain lay in the collection of Henry Tate, an industrialist who had made his fortune as a sugar refiner. Tate offered his extensive collection of British art to the nation and the search for a suitable site began, it was also suggested that the new gallery would house other works of British artists from various other collections.

In 1892 the site of a former prison, the Millbank Penitentiary, was chosen for the new National Gallery of British Art,. the prison which was notorious for sending convicts to Australia, had been demolished in 1890.The gallery opened its doors to the public in 1897, displaying 245 works in eight rooms from British artists dating back to 1790.

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By 1917, the remit of the gallery changed. It was decided that the gallery would be the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day. In 1932, the gallery officially adopted the name Tate Gallery, by which it had popularly been known as since its opening.

The gallery is intrinsically connected with the works of J. M. W. Turner who left a large number of his works to the nation. To celebrate this connection Tate Britain hosts the annual and often controversial Turner Prize exhibition.

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The gallery became known as Tate Britain in 2000 and has an extensive permanent collection and holds a series of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. There are permanent spaces dedicated to the works of J.M.W Turner, William Blake and Henry Moore.

Video Review available here

For more information, visit the Tate Britain 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.
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Book Review : The Story of the Tower of London by Tracy Borman ( Merrell Publishers)

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The story of the Tower of London is intrinsically tied to the story of England, since the building was built just after the Norman Conquest of 1066, the fortress has  stood as a symbol of royal power, tradition, heritage and military might. Whilst many people may be familiar with stories related to those murdered or executed within its walls including the ‘Princes in the Tower’, Henry VI, Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey. These are just a small number of stories related to the incredible history of this remarkable site.

Tracy Borman in this new book of the Tower of London explores many of the stories, events and characters of one of the most iconic sites of London. The author in the introduction makes the important point that the Tower of London “is not just a backdrop, but also the lead actor of some of the most momentous events of our history.”

There is evidence of Roman buildings on the site before building work began on the fortress after the Norman Conquest of 1066, however it was the concerns of William the Conqueror and his less than enthusiastic welcome from Londoners that led to the construction of the Tower. When it was completed it was one of the largest castle keeps in Europe and dominated the surrounding area, it was a clear statement of intention that the Normans were here to stay.

William the Conqueror’s successors made full use of the Tower as a Palace and a Fortress over subsequent centuries, however one of many colourful characters described in the book from this period was Geoffrey de Mandeville who was a constable of the Tower. Geoffrey de Mandeville became infamous for quickly changing sides in times of war if there was a profit to be made. He acquired a great amount of wealth but developed a less than honest reputation. King John in the thirteenth century was particularly fond of the Tower and stayed there for long periods, part of its appeal may have been King John feared for his life after making a large number of enemies.

It was King John who established the Tower Menagerie and collected a large number of exotic animals that were caged within the Tower’s walls. The section on the Menagerie in the book is full of wonderful stories of this curious collection of animals. Over the centuries, the citizens of London became used to a number of strange and unusual sights including a polar bear from the Menagerie who was allowed to fish in the Thames in 1252 and the first elephant in London in 1255. Many of the animals in the menagerie had a short and unhappy existence, James I was particularly sadistic, pitting animals against each other in fights to the death. The book also relates that it was not only animals that suffered, visitors were occasionally maimed or killed by animals in the collection. Away from all the cruelty, people were given the opportunity of  seeing wild animals in the flesh which inspired artists in particular. William Blake wrote and illustrated his famous poem The Tyger after seeing a real tiger in the Menagerie and Edwin Landseer was a regular visitor sketching the lions before making his sculptures for Trafalgar Square.

If the Tower was a place of cruelty to animals, from its earliest existence it also gained a reputation for terror, torture and murder to humans. In 1278 Edward I had 600 Jews rounded up and thrown in the dungeons under the dubious claim of debasing the currency, many were hanged whilst others were released only after ransoms were paid. In 1380 the tables were turned on the elites when peasants supporting the cause of Wat Tyler stormed the castle and murdered the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The reigns of Richard III and Henry VIII cemented the Tower’s grisly reputation for dark deeds with the ‘Princes in the Tower’ murders and the executions of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. The long list of prisoners held in the Tower including many of the most important and influential people in English history including a surprising number of Kings and Queens. It is worth noting that all these dark deeds are not in the distant past. In the First World War, eleven spies were executed within the Tower and in 1941, German spy Josef Jakobs achieved an unwanted  notoriety by became the last person to be executed at the Tower.

The Tower as a prison is only one of the functions it has undertaken over the centuries, as well as being a fortress and a royal residence, it has been a weapons factory, royal mint and a secure repository for the Crown Jewels. However, it was not that secure when famously Colonel Thomas Blood stole and damaged the Crown Jewels in 1671, interestingly rather than suffering the usual grisly fate of other criminals, he became a celebrity and was given land and a pension by the King.

This lavishly illustrated and wonderfully entertaining book presents the many and varied stories that make up the Tower’s extraordinary history from its Roman origins to the present day. Many of the stories may be familiar, however there are plenty of surprises as the book illustrates that the Tower’s history is far richer and complex than many people would realise. It also reminds us that the Tower of London is not just a monument of the past but remains a living institution with a rich ceremonial life, and still attracts millions of visitors from across the world each year.

This book, specially commissioned by the Tower of London and published in association with Historic Royal Palaces is wonderful resource for anyone interested in one of the most enigmatic and popular historic monuments in the world.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like more information or buy a copy of the book, visit the Merrell Publishers 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.
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Review : The RA Schools Show at RA Schools Studios – 12th to 28th June 2015

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The RA Schools Show is the annual exhibition of works by final year students at the historic Royal Academy Schools, the first art school in Britain. The RA Schools was founded in 1769, and  are unique in offering the only three-year postgraduate programme in Europe. Perhaps more unusually,there are no fees and there is no curriculum but they centre the course around the specific needs of each individual artist. The RA Schools are partly supported by funds raised by the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and are located within the Royal Academy complex behind Burlington Arcade.

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The RA Schools Show offers rare opportunity for visitors to walk around the historical RA Schools studios which are normally hidden from public view. The show itself showcase the talents of the next generation of artists, with exhibits including painting, sculpture, video, installation, photography and live installations.

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Many famous artists have studied at RA Schools including  J. M. W. Turner, John Soane, Thomas Rowlandson, William Blake, Thomas Lawrence, John Constable,  David Wilkie, William Etty and Edwin Landseer. More recently the Schools have taught Matthew Darbyshire, Anthony Caro and Rachel Champion.

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Following these illustrious predecessors are this years class of 2015 which includes Caroline Abbotts, Rebecca Ackroyd, Victoria Adam, Matt Ager, Sofie Alsbo, Hannah Bays, Josie Cockram, Henry Coleman, Adam Collier, Ziggy Grudzinkskas, Declan Jenkins, Maria de Lima, Evelyn O’Connor, Laurence Owen, Max Prus, Sean Steadman and Joel Wyllie.

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Each student offers their own particular vision of contemporary art with a diversity of approaches, media and materials, including woodcut prints, paintings,ceramics, sculptures and live installations.

Walking around the labyrinth of the studios is an experience in itself with each room offering a self contained display, a map is provided to navigate the studios and the corridors which are full of old sculptures and all kinds of weird and wonderful objects.

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Many of the students have created their own particular narratives that offer a complex array of ideas and objects, there is plenty of interest and for anyone interested in collecting contemporary art, many of the works are for sale.

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The RA Schools is a fascinating place and the RA Schools Show is an ideal opportunity to explore the historic yet very modern space, it is also a opportuniy to consider the work of the class of 2015 and consider whether they will the famous artists of the future.

Admission is free

Opening Times

10am – 6pm daily

10am –  10pm on Fridays.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

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