Discover London's Art Heritage and Collections with Michael

London Art Tours & Design Courses

I am an art and design historian with over twenty years experience as a writer and lecturer on the subject at Masters level. My London art tours and design courses are created around half day (4 hours) and one-day walking tours (7 hours). You can personalise your own art and design tour of London to suit your own particular interests, or you can hop onto one of my own 4 hour tours of the London art scene which are regularly undertaken by me as follows:

 

BRITISH MUSEUM AND BLOOMSBURY TOUR 4 HOURS

There are over 6 million artefacts in the possession of the British Museum with approximately 60,000 on display at any one time. Where to start? Let Michael take you on a 2 hour tour of this wonderful museum visiting the ‘must-sees’ including the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon Marbles, The huge head of Ramesses II, The Assyrian Lion Hunt Reliefs, The Sutton Hoo Collection, to name just a few. There will also be a few hidden treasures to discover, making the visit complete.

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES TOUR 4 HOURS

Why not combine any two museums/galleries in this 4-hour highlights tour? All major museums and galleries are open to the public free of charge, but the choice of what to see can be overwhelming. Let Michael take the strain out of selecting what to see, (depending on your own interests of course), by selecting any two from the following list. Each visit will last approximately 90 minutes

THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP of ARTISTS – 4 HOURS

Roger Fry introduced London to the work of the Post Impressionists such as Cezanne and Van Gogh at an exhibition in 1910 when, according to the writer Virginia Woolf ‘human nature changed’ She was referring to the changes in society with the advent of new technologies such as the motor car, and artistic changes that advocated new ways of seeing. Woolf’s sister, Vanessa and their friends became the Bloomsbury Group of writers, artists and thinkers that dominated the London art scene of the 1920s and 30s. The tour begins at Tate Britain Gallery to see some of their work before visiting the Bloomsbury area of London where they lived and worked.

THE CAMDEN TOWN GROUP of ARTISTS – 4 HOURS

As England began to embrace the Impressionism of artists such as Manet, Degas and Whistler, a group of painters around the circle of Walter Sickert, worked closely in the early years of the twentieth century to produce a painterly style of English Modernism that embraced contemporary urban life in London. This walking tour begins at Tate Britain Gallery to see examples of the work before visiting the Camden Town area.

KENSINGTON and CHELSEA CREATIVE QUARTER – 4 HOURS

The tour is based around two different groups of artists living in that area in the late nineteenth century. Beginning with a visit to Leighton House to see the home and studio of the former President of the Royal Academy, we will then walk this area of conservative art in Kensington before walking further south to the more decadent area of Chelsea where JM Whistler and others had their studios.

THE GOTHIC REVIVAL TOUR – 4 HOURS

The Gothic Revival tour visits several 19th century buildings encapsulating the style that embraced medieval craftsmanship, including the Houses of Parliament, All Saints Church, Margaret St, and the High Courts of Justice. We will also visit the V&A Museum to see some designed artefacts of this period, including a large Rood screen, made by George Gilbert Scott in 1862, later removed from Hereford Cathedral.

WREN’S CITY of LONDON CHURCHES

Wren’s City of London churches, visiting several of his buildings that defined the English Baroque style of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, following the destruction of the city in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Of the original 52 churches built by Sir Christopher Wren in the City of London, only 24 of them remain in a complete condition, including his masterpiece St Paul’s Cathedral.

ART DECO in LONDON – 4 or 7 HOURS

A tour on foot and by public transport that examines the impact of Art Deco on architecture and design in 1930s London. We will visit several buildings that encapsulate the style embracing the clean classical lines of Modernisme. The buildings include the former Carerras cigarette factory with its Egyptian theme, the BBC’s Broadcasting House, and the former Daily Telegraph offices in Fleet Street, as well as the apartment block used as the residence for Agatha Christie’s Poirot TV series! A seven-hour tour on the subject would also include a visit to Eltham Palace, in South East London.

PORTRAITS of LONDON RESIDENTS – 4 HOURS

There are a number of famous London residents whose legacy is commemorated in public sculpture. These include Sir Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie, Sir Thomas More, William Shakespeare, and John Wesley, to name but a few. After visiting some of these statues in central London, the tour then includes a visit to the National Portrait Gallery, to see paintings of many other residents including Charles Dickens, Michael Caine, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Bowie and Michael Faraday. The tour begins in Westminster where many of these statues are located before making our way to the National Portrait Gallery.

THE IMPRESSIONISTS in LONDON – 4 HOURS

One thinks about the French Impressionist movement as having its genesis in Paris in the mid 1870s. However artists such as Monet and Pissarro had begun developing their style earlier after being forced into exile during the Franco Prussian War of 1870-71. While here they discovered the work of JMW Turner and others that had a significant influence on their painterly style. Another artist Alfred Sisley had English parents and spent some of his early adult life in London. All three of these artists returned to London later in their careers. The tour visits some of the haunts where they painted views of the city and its urban life

Get in Touch:

Use the form below to ask us about our London Art Tours and design courses, or to arrange a tour of your own.

3 + 15 =