London is haven for art lovers. From old masters to modern dramatic installations, there is something for everyone to discover. Jacques Conradie, Guest Relations and Services Manager at the Egerton House Hotel, is himself passionate about art and culture, so we have got him to share his top 5 picks for must-see art events in the capital coming up to Christmas.
‘Hollywood Costume’ at the V&A, 20 October 2012 – 27 January 2013
One of my favourites, the Victoria & Albert Museum is just over the road from the Egerton and this ground-breaking exhibition includes over 100 of the most iconic and unforgettable film characters from a century of Hollywood filmmaking from Charlie Chaplin through the Golden Age of Hollywood to the cutting-edge design for ‘Avatar’. See the Dorothy Gale costume from ‘The Wizard of Oz’, Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt in ‘Titanic’, Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean and many more classic costumes that have never been publicly displayed and have never been seen beyond the secure walls of the studio archives.
Extra tip: don’t miss ‘Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950’ at the V&A featuring more than 60 stunning dresses from royal balls to red carpet events. Until 6 Jan 2013.
Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition 2012, 19 October 2012 – 3 March 2013
Just a couple of minutes’ walk from our front door, this world-renowned annual exhibition provides a spotlight on the rarely seen wonders of the natural world.The 100 winning images on show are selected from 1,000s of international entries and are beautifully displayed in sleek backlit installations. The exotic creatures on display and the lengths that these photographers go to get the perfect shot are amazing. Images range from a baby whale shark emerging from the gloomy ocean depths to a lazing lion peacefully sleeping on the grass oblivious to the violent thunderstorm in the distance.
The Rain Room at the Babican, 4th October 2012 – 3rd March 2013
This extraordinary installation invites you to experience what it’s like to control the rain (something most British people would love to do!). The room is dark, with just a single raking light at the farthest end of the room. As people step into the silvery shower a clearing appears as if by magic, and traces their movements so the droplets leave them bone dry.
How exactly this is done is a mystery to me, but the technology includes injection moulded tiles, solenoid valves, pressure regulators and 3D tracking cameras.
Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present, the National Gallery, 31 October 2012 – 20 January 2013
View Old Master painting through a new lens with the National Gallery’s first major exhibition of photography. The exhibition explores early photography from the mid-19th century and the most exciting contemporary photographs, alongside historical painting. It takes a provocative look at how photographers use fine art traditions, including Old Master painting, to explore and justify the possibilities of their art.
It includes work by leading photographers such as Martin Parr, Craigie Horsfield, Sam Taylor-Wood, Richard Billingham, Julia Margaret Cameron and Gustave Le Gray, displayed beside key paintings from the National Gallery collection.
Extra tip: don’t miss the gallery’s of late works by the amazing Richard Hamilton, also on display.
Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde at Tate Britain, 12 September 2012 – 13 January 2013
This exhibition brings together over 150 works in different media, including painting, sculpture, photography and the applied arts, revealing the Pre-Raphaelites to be advanced in their approach to every genre. Led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood rebelled against the art establishment of the mid-nineteenth century, taking inspiration from early Renaissance painting and constitute Britain’s first modern art movement.
Jonathan Jones, writing in the Guardian, describes this show as “By far the best exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite art I have seen” and I would agree, so don’t miss it!
These are just five of my favourites, there are plenty more to discover throughout London and remember to look up, as you walk around as some of our most beautiful art is in the architecture.