There are galleries in London that appeal to almost every artistic taste in one way or another. The major and well-known galleries are fantastic to visit – the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain, as well as the National Gallery and the V&A, attract a large number of visitors each year and have some truly breathtaking art to see.
Sometimes though you may be looking for something a bit different. There are a few smaller, quirkier and slightly lesser-known galleries and museums in the city and generally they have more than art on show.
SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM
Opposite a small park in Camden lie three buildings, Nos 12, 13, and 14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
which are now known as the The Soane Museum.
Sir John Soane acquired and rebuilt each of these buildings during his lifetime.
The Museum houses the drawings and models of neo-classical architect John Soane, as well as his vast, eclectic, and jumbled collection of drawings, paintings, classical statues, and antiquities.
Soane’s house had become a museum by the time he died, with thousands of artefacts ranging from Ancient Egyptian antiquities and Roman sculptures to models of contemporary buildings. He acquired some spectacular objects, including the Egyptian pharaoh Seti I’s sarcophagus
Soane negotiated a private Act of Parliament in 1833 to maintain his house and collection in perpetuity, just as it was when he died – and to keep it open and free for inspiration and education.
The house itself is an art piece and the facade gives little away to what breathtaking sights await inside. Make time to visit this museum, you will not be disappointed. I went a few years ago with a very good friend of mine and am itching to go back.
THE BOWER GALLERY
If you’re looking for quirky, in Brunswick Park there was once an old toilet block!
A crowdfunded project saw this old toilet block in Brunswick Park, Camberwell, turned into a small art gallery and publishing hub complete with a café.
The Bower project was conceived by Louisa Bailey and Joyce Cronin, who worked with architects Claire and Kazuya Nakamoto to create a new, engaging community space, known as The Bower Gallery
THE VIKTOR WYND MUSEUM OF CURIOSITIES
Weird and off the grid this gallery/museum is also home to The Last Tuesday Society.
This unusual place is a cross between a tiny natural history museum, a junk shop and a small art gallery with an ever changing list of exhibitions and a cocktail bar.
Here you can also learn the art of taxidermy or join the Last Tuesday Society as it gathers every Tuesday for a series of lectures, events, drawing salons, screenings and secret society parties!
Viktor Wynd is an artist working in the field of relational aesthetics, a ‘pataphysicist, writer, curator, collector, dealer, dilettante, naturalist and antiquarian.
There is a charge to enter, but don’t let that put you off as there is plenty to see at The Museum of Curiosities.
THE MUSEUM OF BRANDS
The collection takes visitors on a nostalgic journey through 200 years of social change, culture and lifestyle. The permanent exhibition the ‘Time Tunnel’, created by consumer historian Robert Opie, explores the remarkable story of how our consumer society has evolved since Victorian times.
The exhibition When Brands Take a Stand presents TV commercials, posters and packaging. It asks how brands and advertising have the power to influence society. How they affect the way we see ourselves and how we engage with others and the world we live in.
As a small charity, The Museum of Brands, rely on the income from ticket sales and visits to preserve the collection for many years to come.
THE CARTOON MUSEUM
Discover original artwork from the 1800s to the present day at The Cartoon Museum.
In 2006 a dedicated group of cartoonists, comic artists and collectors known as the Cartoon Art Trust came together to create a permanent home for a collection of graphic, satirical art and commentary. The resulting Cartoon Museum is devoted to exploring this art form.
The museum has over 6,000 original cartoon and comic artworks, and 8,000 books and comics. This is continually updated and curated, with hundreds of examples always on display.
Part II coming soon.