Heath Robinson Museum

Nov 4, 2016 by

A short walk from Pinner Station on the Metropolitan Line, through a park with some lovely mature trees and a lake, you will find the newly re-opened and expanded Heath Robinson Museum. (Free with National Art Pass.) Like most people, I was aware of William Heath Robinson, through the phrase, ‘it’s a bit Heath Robinson,’ to denote something which has been put together in an unorthodox and elaborate way. Until today. The museum contains examples from the series of ‘How to’ books, written by KRG Browne, with hilarious illustrations by Heath Robinson, watercolour paintings and much much more, showing what a versatile and talented artist he was.  Heath Robinson’s autobiography is entitled ‘My Line of Life, ‘ and the permanent exhibition tells the story of his career and the very different styles of illustrating...

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Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Dec 13, 2015 by

In my experience, people find it hard to talk about mental health. A visit to Bethlem’s Museum of the Mind might help start that conversation.  Enlarged and reopened in 2015, the museum is situated within the large grounds of the Bethlem Hospital, a 15 minute walk from Eden Park Station (trains from London Bridge, every 30 minutes.) On your way, you can see how many different Art Deco features you can spot on the 1930s houses you pass. There are three parts to the Museum. On the ground floor there is a gallery of art created by people with mental health problems, often for sale. The first floor has a temporary exhibition space, which is changed three times a year and the main, permanent exhibition. A timeline curves around the head of the staircase...

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Ben Uri Gallery

Jan 5, 2015 by

In my quest to check out some of the smaller museums and galleries of the capital, I was delighted to discover the Ben Uri Art Museum which is located just off Abbey Road in St John’s Wood. On two floors, the gallery is a perfect size, giving the visitor the chance to really look at the paintings, without feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead! I was the only visitor and received a very friendly welcome. The museum is free but invites donations to help it continue. The current exhibition is: Refiguring the 50s and has work from five artists; Joan Eardley, Sheila Fell, Eva Frankfurther, Josef Herman and LS Lowry. They have quite distinct styles but all the pictures on display have a common theme of working people. A book is available and the exhibition provides enough detail...

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Museum of London Docklands – Estuary...

May 29, 2013 by

I wrote about Estuary, the latest exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands before I had even seen it all. I was so stunned by it that I couldn’t wait to share how I felt. Massive thanks to N Quentin Woolf and the Londonist for prompting me to visit early. This means I will have the chance to go again and encourage as many people as possible to visit as well. I viewed the exhibits in a bit of a strange order but would actually recommend doing it like I did. I also think it’s a show to go round on your own so you can experience it without any distractions and really get absorbed in it. The first painting is a poignant one. Michael Andrews planned a series of paintings on the Thames...

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National Portrait Gallery – Jacob Epstein...

May 26, 2013 by

With about half an hour to spare, the exhibitions on the mezzanine floor of the National Portrait Gallery are perfect. They are popular with visitors, but there is enough space to spend time to really look closely at the exhibits and read the labels. The current exhibition is by Sir Jacob Epstein and focuses on his portrait sculptures as well as showing photographs of him at work in his studio. A controversial artist, both because of his sexually explicit sculptures and his desire to move away from classical sculpture towards a more traditional rough style, Epstein’s work is on display across the world. Here we have, grouped together, some of the brass busts of actors, artists, writers and others who supported him when he was demonised by the press. He chose people with interesting...

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Fate, Hope and Charity – Foundling Museum 2...

May 1, 2013 by

Since I discovered the Foundling Museum a year ago, I have been to several of their special exhibitions: Quentin Blake – As Large as Life, The Triumph of Pleasure, Vauxhall Gardens 1729 – 1786, Received, a Blank Child: Dickens, Brownlow and the Foundling Hospital and now Fate, Hope and Charity. They are what I call bite-sized exhibitions. You can look round them in an hour or less and, because there isn’t an overwhelming amount of material, you have the opportunity to really spend time with each exhibit, carefully reading the labels and wondering about people who died long ago, giving them an importance they may never have had in their lifetime. The excellent podcasts by the Londonist with N Quentin Woolf bring the exhibitions to life with interviews with the Curator of the exhibition...

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