As life is hopefully beginning to return to normal museums, galleries and country houses have re-opened their doors to the public again. There are a number of exciting long-term exhibitions opening and as most of us are probably facing a ‘staycation’ summer there is plenty to inspire across the UK .
With so many of these venues relying on our support it seems a good time to recommend ten exhibitions and venues which are definitely worth a visit this summer.
Royal Academy, London
David Hockney – The Arrival of Spring, Normandy
May -26 September 2021
This uplifting exhibition with exuberant pictures by Hockney of the emergence of spring during lockdown 2020, has ensured the Royal Academy has come back with a bang. Already tickets have largely sold-out but one wonders if the RA will ask for an extension by popular demand.
Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham,
North Country Quilts: In Celebration of New Acquisitions
May -19 January 2022
We are delighted to be amongst the sponsors supporting this stunning exhibition of north country quilts in Durham County. The Bowes, a beautiful museum with the feel of a French chateau, are exhibiting handcrafted north country quilts from their own permanent collection, alongside more recent acquisitions and some contemporary designs. Together they chart the 200-year history of these hand crafted textiles. These quilts were treasured by the families that made and owned them and passed from generation to generation, they are imbued with the spirit of the working communities from which they originate. While we highly recommend a visit to this exhibition the Bowes has broadened accessibility by creating a 3D digital tour which can be viewed on their website.
Moyse’s Hall Museum, Bury St Edmunds
Moments – A Unique Exhibition of Modern Art
May -30 September 2021
This confident modern art exhibition promises to put this pretty country museum on the national map with work by 23 Modern British artists including Damien Hirst, Banksy, Tracey Emin and the Connor Brothers. The Moments exhibition will run alongside a series of artist talks and live workshops.
Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery
Permanent collection reopens from May with the largest collection of work by Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones
Birmingham City Museum and Art gallery unashamedly describes itself as a world class institute and it is difficult to argue with this when you consider it has one of the best Pre-Raphaelite collections anywhere and the world’s largest single collection of work by the artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones, who was born in the city. Visitors will once again be able to marvel at theseis extraordinary artworks but numbers are restricted and booking is essential. Like many museums who have adapted to the pandemic, Birmingham Museum and Art gallery has put together a superb digital programme of lectures and online tours including a not to be missed talk on Burne-Jones in June but again you will need to book in advance.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
The Pre-Raphaelites – Drawings and Watercolours
May- 20 June 2021
There are many wonderful museums in Oxford – the University Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art, the Pitt Rivers and of course the Ashmolean, so it is hard to pick one to visit this summer but as we are on the Pre-Raphaelite theme the Ashmolean are holding a special exhibition focusing on work by the rebellious 19th century brotherhood. John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti are featured with a focus on watercolours and drawings – almost all the exhibits originate from the Ashmolean’s own collection. The exhibitions runs until the 20th of June. You can learn more about the exhibition and Pre-Raphaelite movement’s connection to Oxford here https://youtu.be/3Dg54Qhls9w
Coventry Cathedral, Coventry
Self Portrait Prize Exhibition 2021
May – 29 June 2021
Staying in the Midlands – Coventry is this year’s City of Culture and there are a wide variety of exhibitions, shows and events happening across the city over the next few months. The spectacular Basil Spence designed cathedral, incorporates work from some of our best known 20th century British artists but from now until the end of June it will be hosting an exhibition of contemporary self-portraits short listed for this year’s Self-Portrait Prize Exhibition 2021 including the frank self-portrait of winning artist Lucy Jones – ‘Being 66’.
Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool
The Last Bohemian: Augustus John
May—30 Aug 2021
The Lady Lever Art Gallery has gathered together over 40 works by the artist August John exploring both his Bohemian lifestyle and his links to the city. A former student at the Slade, August John, moved to Liverpool in 1901 to teach at the Liverpool City of Architecture and Applied Arts. Although he was fascinated by gypsy culture spending time observing and working amongst travelling communities like other artists, such as Edward Seago and Alfred Munnings, he was also a celebrated portrait artist and painted both Dylan Thomas and WB Yeats.
Compton Verney, Warwickshire
Mary Newcomb: Nature’s Canvas
18 May – 5 September 2021
The work of the East Anglian artist, farmer, and naturalist, Mary Newcomb, is celebrated at glorious Compton Verney. Like Hockney’s current work at the Royal Academy, Newcomb’s pictures are an un-equivocal response to the countryside that surrounded her and both exhibitions are timely reminders of what we may lose if we do not safeguard our natural environment.
The Holburne Museum, Bath
Canaletto: Painting Venice
May 17 – September 5 2021
The reality of an escape to Europe or further afield may still feel far away but the Holburne Museum in Bath offers an alternative landscape perspective with twenty three Canaletto landscapes depicting 18th century Venice. All the paintings originate from the Duke of Bedford’s Estate and it is the first time in seventy years that they have left their stately location at Woburn Abbey. Most of the facades and vistas are still recognisable in today’s city but these pictures, painted over nine years, when Canaletto was at the height of his career, also provide an insight into Venice’s earlier history, particularly as they are displayed at eye level so visitors can explore them in more detail.
Hampton Court Palace, Richmond upon Thames
Gold and Glory: Henry VIII and the French King
May 20 – 5 September 2021
Ending on a regal note, Hampton Court’s Gold and Glory celebrates the meeting of Henry VIII and Francois I on the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520. The exhibition showcases dazzling Tudor treasures from the rival courts of England and Valois France, designed to impress upon the opposing party their own wealth, status and power. Amongst the many beautiful objects is a contemporaneous tapestry from France, which has never been displayed publicly before, depicting a wrestling bout at the Field of Cloth of Gold it also portrays a rarely represented black trumpeter amongst the Royal musicians.
Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham, Berkshire
Love, Art, Loss – The Wives of Stanley Spencer
The Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace, London
Shara Hughes running until the 5 June
Hastings Contemporary (formally known as the Jerwood), Kent
Quentin Blake: We live in Worrying Times
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.