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Tate Britain in general (London)

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8 Reviews

Tate Britain is a part of the Tate gallery network in Britain, along with Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. It is housed in the Tate's original premises on Millbank, and was renamed "Tate Britain", when "Tate Modern" opened in 2000. It is now dedicated to the display of historical and contemporary British art. It includes the Clore Gallery 1986 designed by James Stirling which houses work by J.M.W. Turner. Tate Britain is the national gallery of British art from 1500 to the present day. As such, it is the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world (only the Yale Center for British Art can claim similar expansiveness, but with less depth). More recent artists include David Hockney, Peter Blake and Francis Bacon. It has in focus rooms dedicated to works by one artist, such as: Tracey Emin, John Latham, Douglas Gordon, Sam Taylor-Wood, Marcus Gheeraerts II. Currently Room 30 is occupied by a specially constructed wood-lined room for Chris Ofili's work The Upper Room, 1999-2002.

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      28.08.2009 14:46
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      A pleasant museum to visit if you have an hour or two to spare

      My husband and I visited the Tate Britain yesterday, and I was rather excited as this was my first visit to the museum. The Tate Britain is a beautiful building which houses a collection of British art dating from 1500.

      Entrance is free (but donations are welcome) and the museum is easy to get to. The closest tube station is Pimlico. We used the C10 bus which runs from Victoria and stops very close to the museum.

      I was surprised to find that the museum is not particularly large and you can easily get through the whole museum in an hour or two. I was also surprised to discover that a large part of the museum is devoted solely to the work of Turner (10 rooms), surely there should be a more even spread of artists as I am sure that there are plenty of British artists not represented at all in the museum (one that springs to mind is Lowry).

      I am not a fan of contemporary art so I was very happy to wander through the Historic British art galleries consists of art dating from 1500 to 1900. My favourites are Constable and the Pre-Raphaelites and I saw some wonderful pieces to admire (and wish I could take home with me).

      Currently there is one paid exhibition in the Tate Britain called 'Richard Long: Heaven and Earth'. I did not visit this exhibition but noticed the entrance fee was £9.80 per adult.

      In one of the gallery rooms were 2 art trolleys filled with art and craft materials for children to select and create their own works of art.

      The museum is divided into the following sections:
      Historic British Art
      Turner galleries
      Modern British Art
      Contemporary British Art
      BP Exhibition
      Richard Long: Heaven and Earth

      The museum changes the displays regularly so that visitors can see a variety of different pieces each time they visit. It would be impossible to list every artist whose works are displayed in the museum, but should you be looking for a specific artist the Tate Museums have a website keeping you up to date on which works are currently on display, www.tate.org.uk.

      If you have the time it is a nice idea is to take the Tate Boat which runs between the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern.

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        19.05.2009 18:27
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        An important place to visit on any trip to London- satisfying on many levels

        Tate Britain- which was nearly called Tate 2 with Tate Modern being Tate 1- is an excellent starting point for exploring what it means to be British today. Tate Modern may be more glamorous but arguably Tate Britain provides the visitor with a more grounded and profound experience of art.

        It is of course principally an art gallery dealing with visual culture but the gallery is ambitious in its scope and smart curators embrace much more that what you see in the paintings, prints, photographs, digital works and sculpture. In its early days as Tate Britain, the permanent galleries were hung thematically, but interestingly, there were so many critics to the art of hanging works across centuries by themes, that the gallery has moved back to periods.

        However, the displays are not afraid to provide the visitor with strong contextual material which means you will find out more about the world of e.g. William Blake, William Hogarth, the Pre-Rapahelites and so forth as well as analysis of their artworks. Thus you learn more about Britain over the last four hundred years at Tate Britain than you do at the British Museum.

        For any visitor wanting to understand more about high quality art generally, how to look at it and understand meanings plus what modern day Britain is about, I would suggest you visit Tate Britain as it is not just another international art museum.

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        20.10.2007 09:17
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        The best gallery for the history of British art

        Housing the greatest collection of British art which spans a five-hundred year period from 1500 to the present day, Tate Britain is deserving of a visit by any serious student or lover of British art. The displays are arranged chronologically and are changed annually, as the collection is too large to be shown in its entirety at any one time. One of the earliest painters whose work is on display is Nicholas Hilliard, born circa 1547.

        The eighteenth century is well represented: Hogarth was innovative in the early part of that century and made an important contribution to establishing an English school of painting. Those who love traditional portraits of that era will delight in the work of Gainsborough and Reynolds.

        The Romantic period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries is given particular attention at Tate Britain, with Constable and Blake each having a room for their work alone; Constable's main body of work depicts the 'rural scenery of England' (the artist's own phrase), and here you can see the renowned 'Flatford Mill'. Turner's three hundred canvases and thousands of watercolours and sketches led to the building of the Clore Gallery at Tate in order to do them justice. One of the greatest of Turner's masterpieces on show is the breathtaking 'Norham Castle, Sunrise', of 1845.

        The nineteenth-century Pre-Raphaelites – Rossetti, Millais, Burne-Jones, Holman Hunt and Madox Brown – who aimed at 'truth to nature', have a room devoted to their work. They reacted against what they saw as the 'frivolity' of many of their contemporaries, and their religious and romantic paintings are noted for their luminosity. Millais' 'Ophelia' (from Shakespeare's play 'Hamlet'), drowning in the river, is one of Tate Britain's greatest attractions.

        The gallery's collection does of course include sculpture as well as painting. Moving into the twentieth century, you can see work by Henry Moore such as the 'Recumbent Figure', a female nude that seems almost to resemble a landscape, or Barbara Hepworth's 'Discs in Echelon' and 'Figure of a Woman'.

        Painters of the twentieth century are represented by Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, Stanley Spencer and David Hockney to name but a few. In a slightly more contemporary vein, there are displays of the work of the Young British Artists such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas, famous for their in-your-face art that reflects pop culture.

        The gallery holds temporary exhibitions for which there is an entrance fee – admission to the permanent displays is free. Special exhibitions range from traditional art, such as the work of Hogarth, to contemporary shows, including the annual Turner Prize exhibition.

        Tate Britain organizes many educational events and lectures, details of which are given on their website. Guided tours are also available. On the first Friday of every month, the gallery is open until 22:00, offering music and performances as well as the usual displays.

        If you are staying several hours and want to have a meal, the Rex Whistler Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea, with a menu that reflects contemporary British cuisine. For sandwiches, salads, soups, cakes and pastries, the Tate Britain Cafe is open every day from 10:00 until 17:30. I have never visited the restaurant, but the choice of snacks at the cafe is very good and I appreciate giving my weary legs a rest there as well as having a break from the works of art.

        Tate Britain is situated in an imposing building (once a prison) at Millbank by the River Thames. Having originally opened in 1897 as the National Gallery of British Art with the collection of Henry Tate, a sugar magnate, it expanded to include international art in 1917. When the international collection was transfered to Tate Modern in the year 2000, The Tate Gallery became Tate Britain, as Henry Tate had first intended it to be.

        You can go by train from London Waterloo to Vauxhall station, from where it is a short walk; the nearest underground stations are Vauxhall or Pimlico. Spend the morning at Tate Britain, then take the Tate Boat along the River Thames to Tate Modern. If you have already had your fill of art, you can alight at the London Eye for a spot of sightseeing.

        If you love Turner's paintings, this is the largest single display of his work you will find anywhere. Tate Britain also offers an interesting juxtaposition of contemporary and traditional art that is not available at London's other major galleries. I wish it were as easy to get to as the Tate Modern (which is just a walk along the embankment from Waterloo station), but it is certainly worth making the journey to see the best of our British art.

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          10.12.2001 21:09
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          I have been to the tate britain gallery because my friend said quentin me old china time we learned ya some culture so we went a few weeks ago with my friend and his girlfreind and she wanted to see the nominations for the turner prize and some paintings and it was free to get in Most of the pictures were really good there was some of some women and some men and chairs and there was some carvings made from stone and some old roman coins and there was a room were a lady had squashed a lot of silver gifts and hung them from the roof by string in a circle shape and it was called 30 peaces of silver but there was more than 30 peaces but it did look really good And then there was a special bit to go to and we had to pay 3£ to get past the african man with the badge on and that was where the turner prize nominations were and it was not really good There was a film of 2 men that love each other being cowboys and a old man in bed and then a large lady with tattoos goes to bed with him and he snores and there was a film of a smoking boy that was played backwards and there was some really good photos and the best one was a girl laying on the beach and there was a room with a light being switched off and on and off and on and that was the one that won the turner prize of 20 thousand pounds There was some other ones to see but my friend got fed up and said I paid 3£ to see the shite and that is when we left to look at the real things that were really good in the other parts of the gallery and I bought a pencil and a rubber from the gallery shop and we had some cola and a danish pastry I would like to go and see some more interesting things like that but my friend wont go anymore and he said that he would rather eat glass

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            25.03.2001 03:48
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            In 1889, Henry Tate, the sugar magnate, wrote a letter proposing to the National Gallery a donation in return for a collection in his name, it was turned down. Soon after he renewed his offer to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, this time requesting an institution of his own, and possible loans and grants to realise his dream. In 1897 the Tate Gallery was brought into being: an art gallery that began life as the National Gallery of British Art, but was soon to extend its interests abroad, becoming the country's finest collection of British and foreign modern art. The collection began as an annexe to the National Gallery, housing 'modern' works from artists born after 1790; sixty-five of the original 245 pictures on view were donated by Tate, the others were on loan from the Royal Academy and the National Gallery (most notably the collection contained several Constable's and Turner's, so that the previously stated guidelines of what was modern were blatantly ignored to provide the new gallery with a bit of status). The Tate courted criticism and controversy from here on in, proving to be more expensive than previously expected, and because of the fashion in art at the time, found itself filling its walls with weak Victorian paintings that earned it an inferior reputation in the high art society. Just after 1911, there was an interesting managerial discussion as to whether or not to install electric lighting within the gallery: One has to try and imagine the smog filled streets of London, and realise that attendance levels at the Tate dropped dramatically on such days, as the public could not possibly view the artwork by natural light (this was also a problem for the surveillance staff, and so on really foggy and dull days the gallery would be closed). Charles Aitken, the Keeper at the time, decided not only on installing the lighting, but also on introducing the sale of prints, photographs and catalogues of th
            e collection. In 1914, the Tate and the National closed their doors in response to an attack by 'Slasher Mary'; Miss Mary Richardson entered the National wielding an axe, promptly slashing Velaquez's The Toilet of Venus, claiming that men were gaping at the picture all day, and that she wanted to destroy it, as the government were destroying Mrs Emily Pankhurst. In the following years the collection opened its selection to foreign artists, acquiring, among others, Degas' and Gauguin's, but it continued showing exhibitions that were on loan from its more established peers. Telephones were installed, bequests and gifts increased, and during the first world war, Aitken managed to buy a very important collection of William Blake's illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy. In January 1928, the Tate suffered grave damage when the winter snow thawed, and the Thames burst its banks: The waters washed through the lower gallery (where most of the collection was hung), cutting the electricity supply and leaving the staff fishing for the artwork in darkness. The gallery reopened as soon as possible, to reassure the public that the bulk of the collection had not been damaged, but the storage space and lower floors continued to be considered unsafe, and the gallery's board ordered the removal and return of numerous drawings and watercolours to the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert. Under a new director, John Rothenstein, the gallery began a new lease of life: While the Tate was being evaluated for small places to be made into bomb shelters, he fell upon about twenty rolls of dirty, dusty canvases; these turned out to be very late works by Turner, almost abstract. They were put on display later that year, and with that, Rothenstein's eye was turned towards more contemporary works by foreign artists. The reaction of the general public was xenophobic to say the least, but he continued his attempts to update the
            Tate's image and keep it in line with that of the Museum of Modern art in New York. The Tate suffered significant damage again on the 16th September, 1940, when it was hit by a bomb. On the 22nd of the same month, another, and once more on January 6th, 1941. The Tate was left with no roof, no windows and few doors; the rain fell in and it was impossible for the staff to work in without heating and electricity. After this, with new impetus, the collection grew rapidly, scouting the art world for new and innovative acquisitions: In 1945 there was a retrospective exhibition of Paul Klee, in 1946, Paul Cezanne, and a well organised exhibition of American painting - 18th Century to present day. Exhibitions of Vincent Van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Paul Nash and Fernard Leger were quick to follow. The Tate was officially separated from the National Gallery in 1955, and at this point the gallery began to express its independency through its artistic taste. Many prints and drawings that had been previously on loan were returned, in favour of the promotion of younger, fresher, contemporary pieces. Most people still remember the public outrage caused by the Tate's acquisition in the late '70's of Carl Andre's Equivalent VIII, also known as 'the Bricks': Part of this outrage was due to the increase of donations given by those who believed that they were contributing to British culture, only to be presented with a pile (more accurately, a line) of bricks. There was also general demonstrations against the impeding implementations of charges for entrance. I will not even try to justify Andre?s work here (just to say the press ran several detrimental articles without consulting the artist), but this was not the last time that the Tate was to cause such controversy. In 1984, with the aid of a patron, Oliver Prenn, the Tate created the first Turner Prize: Nominations were excepted for the artist, curator or critic t
            hat had made the greatest contribution to British art in the last year. The first winner was Malcolm Morely; this choice caused a stir as the artist had been living and working in America for several years. The prize courted the press and brought contemporary art to the masses (now annually shown on Channel 4). The Prize has continued to attract attention by its choice of winners as the public tend to feel ill informed on the intentions of the art and the artist: In 1992, Damien Hirst burst into public view with his winning piece The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, otherwise known as 'The Shark in a Tank' , and the next year Rachel Whiteread hit the headlines with her piece, House, when the K Foundation (otherwise known as the pop band, KLF), offered her the the same amount as the prize money for the worst piece of British art in the past year - this led to a staged performance on the outside steps of the Tate, where 10,000 pounds was supposedly burnt when Whiteread didn't arrive to claim her prize. The Tate today boasts all of the aforementioned collections. The collection of Turner works is extensive and will take you a day alone to view. Other highlights of its permanent collection are (in no particular order): Stanley Spencer, Henry Moore, Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon, Jasper Johns, Joseph Beuys, David Hockney, Picasso, Degas, Matisse, Rebecca Horn, Claude Monet, Barbara Hepworth and Mark Rothko. There are also short term exhibitions held at the Tate, that usually continue for three months - check press for details. It is, more often than not, a crowded and busy gallery, yet do not let that detract from your visit - there are plenty of less frequented Turner rooms upstairs. The Tate has two eateries - the Tate Restaurant (which is a little over priced) and the Tate Cafe and Expresso Bar. The gallery has good disabled facilities, and a clean Baby Care area which I have had the pleasure of usin
            g on many occasions. There is an extensive shop in which you can buy the catalogues of touring exhibitions and the permanent collection, as well as the de rigueur postcards of all your favorite masterpieces. These are also available online at: www.tate.org.uk The web site is well worth visiting, as it will inform you of all the current exhibitions and give you a general overview of the collection. The Tate Gallery is open daily (closed for three days over Christmas) from 10.00 - 17.50. Entrance is still free, but a donation is encouraged. For further information: The Tate Gallery, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG. Tel: 02078878008

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              24.08.2000 04:27
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              Okay, I admit it I'm a complete sucker for Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Art critics may sneer, but give me a painting of a moody red-haired chick and I'm a happy woman. I went to the Tate just to see the Pre-Raphs and was very impressed with their collection. If you love their work the Tate is a must as it has The Lady of Shallott and Millais's Ophelia. The paintings are all crammed into the one room which somehow adds to their appeal. The rest of the gallery is also worth a look of course. The Tate is lovely in that it isn't as large as the National Gallery so it has a more intimate atmosphere and is a lot easier on the feet. The variety of art on show is impressive and you're bound to find some new favourites. The gallery is free, except for special exhibitions which can be quite expensive. In my experience you usually get your money's worth though. The gift shop is also worth a look as it has a good selection of art books.

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                08.08.2000 06:07
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                All too easily overlooked with the recent opening of the mammoth Tate Modern, the former Tate Gallery, now named the Tate Britain, is still a superb gallery, and now is an ideal time to pay it a visit. With the tourists all flocking to the Tate Modern, the riverside Tate Britain in fashionable Pimlico is pleasantly quiet at the moment. Fortunately it's relatively easy to get to, being just ten minutes walk from the Houses of Parliament, and with the half-hourly Art Bus running between here, the Tate Modern and the National Gallery (though this only runs from May to September). The gallery is also a couple of minutes' walk from Pimlico station on the Victoria line, which is running better than ever following its recent repair. The Tate Britain now focuses exclusively on British art since 1500, displayed with the same fascinating juxtapositioning as the Tate Modern. There are four areas to the gallery; "Literature and Fantasy", "Public and Private", "Home and Abroad" and "Artists and Models". The gallery boasts some superb works in its permanent collection, including John William Waterhouse's "The Lady of Shallott", and an incomparable collection of Turner's works in the Clore Gallery. There are relatively few modern and contemporary pieces in the permanent collection, these for the most part having been moved to the Tate Modern, however, there is a room dedicated to the work of David Hockney. Other individual artists with a room to themselves include Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable. The gallery also owns several works by artists including William Blake, George Stubbs and Lucien Freud. A prime example of the juxtapositioning can be found in a room entitled "The Portrait" – a self-portrait by Francis Bacon hangs next to a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, believed to have been painted by Hilliard. There is quite a lot of gallery space given over to temporary exhibiti
                ons, and it is here that the gallery's contemporary British art is, for the most part, displayed. The Turner Prize nominees display examples of their works in an exhibition between October and January every year, and throughout the rest of the year there are often impressive and intriguing collections on display. In Summer 2000, there was an excellent exhibition including work by Julian Opie, Gillian Wearing and Tacita Dean among others. The gallery also shows its commitment to contemporary British art by having a series of frequently changing small exhibitions, called "Art Now", featuring the work of relatively unknown British artists. This year's Turner Prize exhibition is currently on at the Tate Britain - nominees are Glenn Brown, Michael Raedecker, Tomoko Takahashi and Wolfgang Tillmans. My tip for the award is Tomoko Takahashi, who is displaying a single work entitled 'Learning How To Drive'. Her site-specific installation 'Line Out' was exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery last year, in the gallery's New Neurotic Realism exhibition. Admission to the Turner Prize exhibition will set you back £3, but it's well worth it. The Art Now currently on display is by Cerith Wyn Evans, and consists of works based around the writing of William Blake. Oh, and mentioning Blake, a major exhibition of his paintings opens at the Tate Britain in November. Entry will set you back a hefty £8! In 2001, a new exhibition space paid for with Lottery funds will open in the gallery, providing improved visitor access, and additional gallery space. The Tate Britain is, and will remain, a free gallery, charging only for admission to temporary exhibitions. It also has a restaurant and café, and has a quiet members' room.

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                  03.07.2000 00:30
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                  I was down in London on what was the hottest weekend a few weeks ago. Even though I am not really an art buff, I decided to go to the Tate Gallery to try the experience out. It was surprisingly delightful. To get to Tate Britain you can take the tube (Victoria Line, i think) and stop at Pimlico. There are directions to get to the gallery from the tube station. It is not such a long walk and you get the view of Thames river enroute. Admission is free for the main exhibition but for special ones you have to pay an entrance fee. The exhibitions were wonderful, both paintings and sculptures. A short summary by the side of the individual piece tells you the story behind them all. It was enchanting to feel that we would never truely know the whole story behind these. And it made me think that everything we do is indeed a moment in one huge canvas of our life. The gallery was not really big, a plus point i think because you get to really see all of them and not just buzz through them quickly. A bus link is also provided to go to Tate Modern but I never made it, since whilst waiting I suddenly spotted the London Eye and went on walking towards there instead.

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