London is an endlessly exciting city, with onion-like layers of history, art and architecture, juicy and ripe for the peeling. Art historian Rose Balston, director of Art History UK, is passionate about revealing the hidden beauties of the capital to visitors and locals alike.
Stunning permanent art collections can be found in the National Gallery, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, the British Museum, the V&A and east and west end corporate galleries, but these are not the only places to discover what London has to offer. Rose suggests:
Navigating through the streets of the capital, you quickly realise that London is bursting with history and art, both above ground and below. You just have to know where to look. There are curiosities aplenty with hidden gems to be found in the most unusual of places.
The stunning Bacchus and Ariadne
What exactly does Lord Rogers, architect of the 1980s postmodern Lloyd’s building, have in common with the great Sir Christopher Wren of St Paul’s fame? Where is the opulent painter Lord Leighton’s house – a great example of Victorian multiculturalism- hidden? And what’s going on in the masonic designs of all those Hawksmoor churches in the City – isn’t there a Dan Brown connection somewhere?
Indeed how on earth are the famous eighteenth century artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frederick Handel connected with London’s lost boys? And why did Greenwich becomes the ‘centre of the world’. All these questions – and plenty more –are both posed and resolved with fascinating gusto on tours run by historians like Rose.
Westminster Abbey: Why not get private access to Edward the Confessor’s Shrine, the Jerusalem Chamber and the remarkable Triforium…
Embarking on the art history trail will enable you to come away with a huge depth of understanding about the heroic, humble, strange, sad, and often hilarious history of the city. It’s a fascinating story, and you just have to walk around the streets to hear it.
Our friends over at Art History UK run scheduled tours every fortnight, and also create bespoke private tours in Central London. You can visit them over at www.arthistoryuk.com.Google+