London’s art galleries are currently closed but, as long as you have internet access, you can still explore them. So if you’re self-isolating, social distancing or in quarantine, wherever you are in the world, here’s how you can enjoy London’s amazing and beautiful art collections online through virtual tours and resources.
Dulwich Picture Gallery
Dulwich Picture Gallery was founded in 1811 and was the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery. Home to a collection of more than 600 paintings, including masterpieces by artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto, today the gallery is a vibrant cultural hub hosting exhibitions alongside its permanent collection.You can explore the collection here.
The Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery is a world-renowned contemporary art gallery. The gallery has digitised archival material from 50 landmark exhibitions that have taken place at the gallery over the past five decades, including shows by Bridget Riley, Anthony Caro and Anish Kapoor. You can explore these archives here.
The National Gallery has more than 2,600 paintings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The collection includes works by artists such as Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Caravaggio and Botticelli, and is open for everyone to explore on the website.
National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is home to the world’s most extensive collection of portraits. The museum’s aim is to promote an ‘understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture’ and also to promote ‘the appreciation and understanding of portraiture’. It has portraits of everyone from William Shakespeare to Ed Sheeran, the Bronte sisters to Darcy Bussell, and you can explore the collection here.
The RA was founded in 1768 by a group of 40 artists and architects who became the first Royal Academicians. All Royal Academicians donate one of their artworks to the RA when elected, creating an outstanding collection of British art. You can explore the RA collection here. The RA’s website has an excellent and practical Family How To section, with instructions on activities such as stop-frame animation, making your own paintbrush and printing with fruit and vegetables.
Situated a few minutes’ walk from each other in Kensington Gardens, the Serpentine Galleries are two separate exhibition spaces: the Serpentine Gallery and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Both spaces are dedicated to displaying modern and contemporary art. You can explore the Serpentine’s programme online through special broadcasts, podcasts and digital commissions.
Tate Britain showcases the best of British art from 1500 to today. The works are exhibited chronologically, and include the world’s largest JMW Turner collection, as well as paintings by Gainsborough, Whistler and Francis Bacon. You can explore some of the museum’s rooms and artworks here.
Housed in a former power station on the South Bank, Tate Modern is London’s centre for modern and contemporary art. Visitors can enjoy world-class paintings, photographs and performance art, and take part in free workshops. You can see some of the museums rooms and artworks here.
The Wallace Collection is a national museum which displays the wonderful works of art collected in the 18th and 19th centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess. The Wallace Collection is displayed at Hertford House, one of the Wallace family’s London properties in the nineteenth century. You can watch Museum Director, Dr Xavier Bray’s introduction to the collection here and you can search the collection here.
More virtual London galleries
Which is your favourite London gallery – virtual, online or otherwise?
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