Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Verdict: Worth a look
Where: City of London
What is it? A collection of mainly Victorian artwork with London as the central theme. The gallery is also built on the remains of London's Roman Amphitheatre, which was discovered when they were building the gallery.
What I thought? When I visited the gallery the majority of the gallery space was dedicated to the temporary exhibition. Of the artists represented, there are no massive names but there are some notable British artists like Constable and Landseer on display. The central London theme gives the collection a coherent feel and includes paintings of historic moments in London's history such as the opening of Tower Bridge and Queen Victoria's parade through London. It's not the largest collection but definitely worth a look, especially for a Londoner.
The Roman Amphitheatre is impressive for how much of it remains considering how many times London has been rebuilt and it may be our only Roman remnant. Then it gets a little strange. The room's walls and pillars are decorated with Tron-like fluorescent green skeletal athletes and the contemporary-classic contrast is jarring, but I liked it though it won't be to everybody's taste.
Being located in the City separates it from other galleries geographically and also from the usual crowds that galleries get, especially on weekends. I went on Saturday and the deathly quiet of the city is always a strange experience. One to check out if you're in the area of have a hankering for some Victorian paintings.