Cultural Excursions

Six exhibitions to inspire an enlightening break

In the second piece of our new series, we look at six hotly anticipated art exhibitions taking place near Landmarks in the coming months. Many of these exhibitions have reduced price entry for National Art Pass holders, brought to you by our partner Art Fund.

Monet & Architecture, National Gallery

Less than a 35 minute walk from 43 or 45a Cloth Fair, or a short tube journey from 13 Princelet Street
Until 29 July; 50% off for National Art Pass holders

“The recognisable spans, domes and towers… [are] an ethereal stage for the ceaseless and ever-changing play of Monet’s art.” So wrote Laura Cumming of the Guardian in a five star review of the National Gallery’s new Monet & Architecture exhibition.

Seventy-five paintings by Claude Monet have been united for this blockbuster exhibition, the first of its kind to consider the impressionist artist’s career through the buildings he painted. From Normandy, Rouen, Paris, Venice and London, to village scenes, coastal scenes and famous monuments, this show seeks to highlight the ways in which Monet used architecture to create his compositions. Seven paintings of London, including Charing Cross Bridge, Reflections on the Thames, are among the highlights.

Only a short walk through central London is Cloth Fair near Smithfield Market, where we have two Landmarks. 43 Cloth Fair was the poet, writer and broadcaster John Betjeman’s home, complete William Morris’s ‘Acorn’ pattern wallpaper in the sitting room. In the same row of Georgian houses, which enclose the only remaining house built in the City before the Great Fire of London, is 45a Cloth Fair. Alternatively, further east is 18th-century 13 Princelet Street (pictured), nestled in the cosmopolitan and bustling area between Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane.



Elizabeth Friedlander: Typographer, Calligrapher, Designer. Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

Until 29 April; free entry for National Art Pass holders
Less than a 35 minute drive from Wilmington Priory in Wilmington, East Sussex

Winner of the 2014 RIBA National Award and finalist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year Award in the same year, the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft holds an internationally important collection of works by artists and craftspeople who have been drawn to the village of Ditchling in East Sussex. Residents included the sculpture, wood engraver, type designer and letter-cutter Eric Gill, the calligrapher Edward Johnston and the printer Douglas (later Hilary) Pepler.

This spring, Ditchling Museum presents an exhibition which celebrates the life and work of mid-20th century designer Elizabeth Friedlander. While few today may know the name, her designs for Penguin book covers remain recognisable as - some would say - design at its best.

A short drive from Ditchling is the picturesque village of Wilmington. In the heart of the village is Wilmington Priory, once the cell of the Benedictine Abbey at Grestain in Normandy. The Priory was suppressed by Henry V in 1414 and it passed by marriage through various hands until the 9th Duke of Devonshire presented it to the Sussex Archaeology Society in 1925. The duke also bequeathed the famous Long Man, guardian of the South Downs and who has baffled historians and archaeologists for hundreds of years. While the history of the Priory has been unravelled, the purpose and date of the Long Man remain a mystery – but from the comfort of a spacious and elegant Landmark, you can contemplate the position of both Ditchling and Wilmington as villages with an enduring heritage of creativity.



Painting and drawing like a true Master: the talent of Elisabetta Sirani, The Uffizi in Florence, Italy

Until 10 July; included in entry fee to the Museum
Less than a 12 minute walk from Casa Guidi

The world-famous Uffizi Gallery, just north of the River Arno in the centre of Florence and constructed from 1560 by Giorgio Vasari, until July hosts an exhibition celebrating the extraordinary talent of the 17th-century Bolognese painter Elisabetta Sirani.

Sirani was the most famous female artist in early modern Bologna. Trained in her father’s studio she went on to teach many – particularly female – pupils before her early death aged only 27. The exhibition examines the context in which Sirani was working, particularly her connections with some of the leading cultural figures of her day including important collector Cardinal Leopoldo Medici.

Regularly Italy’s most visited museum, the Uffizi operates timed tickets (which can be booked online in advance) and opens late on Tuesday evenings. Like all state museums across Florence, entry is free on the first Sunday of each month.

A short meander away through Florence’s historic streets, across the river and past the Palazzo Pitti, is Casa Guidi. The high-ceilinged apartment was the home of Victorian poets Robert and Elizabeth Browning, and today is a magnificent base from which to explore Renaissance Florence.



Henry Lamb: Out of the Shadows, The Salisbury Museum

26 May – 30 September; included in entry fee to the Museum
Under five minutes’ walk from The Wardrobe

Salisbury Cathedral is widely considered to be one of the leading examples of Early English architecture. Moreover it has the tallest church spire in the UK, the largest cloister and the largest cathedral close. Situated in the close is the Salisbury Museum, which today houses archaeological collections of national importance in addition to displays of costumes, ceramics and temporary exhibitions.

From May the Museum will celebrate the life and work of Henry Lamb, a 20th-century artist and medical professional associated with the Bloomsbury Group, a close friend of Augustus John, patron of Stanley Spencer and co-founder of the Camden Town Group. A celebrated portraitist and official war artist, Lamb (who died in Salisbury) was, this exhibition seeks to demonstrate, also an accomplished landscape painter.

Only a stone’s throw from the Salisbury Museum, and also situated in the Salisbury Cathedral close, is the Wardrobe: a snug Landmark with unrivalled views of the Cathedral complex.



Rembrandt: Britain’s Discovery of a Master, Scottish National Gallery

7 July – 14 October; 50% off with a National Art Pass
Less than a 35 minute drive or a 45 minute bus journey from Rosslyn Castle and Collegehill House

The Dutch painter, etcher and draughtsman Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is perhaps one of the most celebrated artists in the history of art. In an eagerly anticipated exhibition opening in July, the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh will reveal how the taste for Rembrandt’s work in Britain has evolved over the past 400 years. From the 1630s, collectors in Britain began to acquire his works, and this enthusiasm grew into a mania reaching fever pitch in the 18th century.

The exhibition, exclusive to Edinburgh, will bring together some of the Dutch master’s most famous works - including Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which was his first painting to enter a British collection when it was presented to Charles I in the early 1630s. The show will also explore the impact his work has had on native artists, from the 17th century to the present day.

Seven miles outside Edinburgh city centre, and easy to reach by public transport on the number 37 bus, is the village of Roslin. Famous for the historic Rosslyn Chapel, an inn once frequented by an illustrious line of travellers including JMW Turner, William Wordsworth, James Boswell and Robert Burns sits immediately next to the Chapel – Collegehill House. Meanwhile, further into the ancient woodland of Roslin Glen lies Rosslyn Castle (pictured), dramatically situated on a tree-covered spine of rock rising above the River Esk.



A Lost Paradise? Shugborough Estate, National Trust

Until 2019; included in entry fee to Shugborough
Less than an hour’s walk or a 12 minute drive from Ingestre Pavilion, or less than a 55 minute walk or an eight minute drive from Tixall Gatehouse, both near Stafford, Staffordshire

Only four miles from the bustling town of Stafford is Shugborough Estate, home to the Bishops of Lichfield until the Dissolution of the Monasteries and then to generations of the Anson family. Now managed by the National Trust, the grand neo-classical house is complimented by a range of working outbuildings, including kitchens, a watermill, a dairy and a farm - all situated in extensive parkland. Across the parkland are numerous follies, many of which were commissioned by Thomas Anson MP in the mid-18th century and today are considered important Grade I listed structures.

Although many follies still stand, there had once been many more eclectic monuments and early Greek revival structures: in 1795 a great flood largely destroyed Anson’s vision of an Arcadian landscape. Until 2019, the story of this tumultuous event is told through a series of installations by contemporary artist Ben Wigley. Through sound, poetry and manipulated film Wigley aims to emotionally re-connect visitors with the creation and subsequent destruction of the lost monuments.

About an hour’s walk from Shugborough there are two Landmarks, each set in their own dignified landscapes. Tixall Gatehouse, which has long outlasted the main house it once served, stands in landscape guided by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and his pupil William Emes, which made use of a canal to form a lake. Ingestre Pavilion (pictured), although approached along a heavily wooded track, sits at the end of a long vista - also designed by the famous Capability Brown.


Still in need of inspiration? Read the first blog here.


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