Dulwich Picture Gallery

The biggest tourist art attraction in London is probably the Impressionists at the National Gallery, but there are many other venues which are well worth visiting and often do not seem to draw the crowds they deserve.

Dulwich Picture Gallery merits a visit for the building alone, the world’s first custom designed public art museum, widely imitated around the world in subsequently built galleries. Designed by Sir John Soane and opening in 1817, the history of the collection goes back much further, to 1605. With one of Britain’s finest collections of old masters (mostly 1600 to 1800) the gallery was an inspiration to visitors such as John Constable, JMW Turner, Walter Sickert, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Vincent van Gogh.

The core of the collection is the bequests of Frenchman, Noël Desenfans (1745 – 1807), and his Swiss partner, the painter, Sir Francis Bourgeois, RA (1756 – 1811). The most successful art dealers in London during the latter part of the 18th century.

You get to the Dulwich Picture Gallery by train from London to either North Dulwich (from London Bridge) or West Dulwich (from London Victoria) station, which are both about half a mile’s walk through pleasant suburbs to the gallery. Admission is £8, but you can halve this by using the National Rail “Days Out Guide“. It is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm and has a very nice cafe.

Let’s now take a look at a few of the star exhibits:


Rembrandt. A Girl at a Window. 1645


Jan van Huysum. Vase with Flowers. c1720


Sir Peter Lely. Nymphs by a Fountain. c1650


Karel de Jardin. Peasants and a White Horse 1670s


Canaletto. Old Walton Bridge over the Thames 1754


David Teniers. A Winter Scene with a Man Killing a Pig


Thomas Gainsborough. The Linley Sisters 1771/2


Gerrit Dou. A Woman Playing a Clavichord c1665

In total the collection consists of around 600 works of art, including the following (thanks Wikipedia!):

Dutch School
English School
Flemish School
French School
Italian School
Spanish School

 

 

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