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Entry Fee? – This Gallery is free to enter. Temporary exhibitions may, however, have an admission free, so please check online before visiting. 

Brief Description of the museum? – Founded in 1824, The National Gallery is one of the World’s most visited Art Museums and houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings which date from the mid-13th Century to the 1900’s. The Gallery holds a collection of paintings from a range of important historical artistic movements, by prolific painters such as Jan Van Eyck, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Monet and Van Gogh, to name just a few! For any art enthusiasts out there, The National Gallery is a MUST when visiting the city. It is also worth noting, that the National Portrait Gallery (which we have a separate Museum checklist on) is also right around the corner, so be sure not to miss out on some incredible, and important historical pieces on your next visit to Trafalgar Square! 

Opening times? – From Monday-Sunday, the Gallery is open from 10am-6pm. On Fridays the Gallery is open later from 10am-pm. 

Photography allowed? – Yes, Photography is allowed in the Gallery. However, please do not use flash due to the delicate condition and age of some of the paintings. (Photography in temporary exhibitions may be different, so please ask a museum steward upon your visit) 

Interactive technology? – Due to the age of the Gallery, there are no interactive technologies available. 

Facilities for kids? – A range of family audio tours of the gallery are available, so please see the link below if you are interested in possibly booking one of these tours. 

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/visiting/families/family-tours

Guides? – Yes, The Gallery does offer a range of audio tours which cover both the main collection and special exhibitions. Please see the link below for more information: 

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/visiting/audio-guides

Top 3 things not to be missed? – 

  1. The Water-Lily Pond (1899) By Claude-Oscar Monet 

As the World’s most famous Impressionist artists, of course, Monet had to make an appearance amongst the must-see paintings at the National Gallery. Born in 1840 in Paris, France, Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting and practitioner of the movements philosophy of expressing one’s individual perception of nature- hence the unique and iconic style of painting which we all recognise in Monet’s work today. As a result of this, Monet was heavily inspired by nature and created a variety of stunning pieces influenced by the beauty of his home in Giverny, The Water-Lily Pond which is currently on display at the National Gallery is in fact, one of those paintings. At the end of his life, Monet found the subject matter for his art in the gardens of his home, specifically, the water-lily pond and the beautiful Japanese Bridge he constructed across it. This piece is one of seventeen other paintings which Monet began to paint in 1899, which feature the beautiful pond and bridge. 

  1. Sunflowers (1888) By Vincent Van Gogh 

Sticking with the impressionist theme, is this beautiful iconic painting by Vincent Van Gogh, a Dutch post-impressionist painter, who is one of he most famous and influential figures in the history of Western Art. Creating about 2,100 pieces of art in just ten years, Van Gogh’s paintings are characterised by their bold colours, expressive brush-strokes, and a tragic and complex personal history behind them. Born in 1853 in Zundert, Netherlands, Van Gogh had a history of Mental Illness and following a lack of commercial success when he was alive, he lived a life of poverty and subsequently committed suicide in 1890 aged just thirty-seven. Van Gogh painted Sunflowers in 1888, and the painting is primarily yellow- which he associated with hope and friendship.  He suggested that his four Sunflowers canvases express an ‘idea symbolising gratitude’, and was thought to have been pleased with the outcome, as he hung the painting in the guest bedroom of his home in Arles in anticipation of the arrival of his friend, Paul Gauguin (A French post-impressionistic artist) 

  1. The Arnolfini Portrait (1434) By Jan Van Eyck 

Painted in 1434 by EARLY Netherlandish painter Jan Van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait is considered one of the most original and complex paintings in Western art due to its beauty, iconography and picture space-with Eycks complex use of the mirror. Painted on an oak panel using oil paints, this portrait depicts Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife to record their wedding. Arnolfini was a member of an Italian merchant family from Lucca, who was living in Bruges- the interior is well-appointed suggesting an element of wealth. A fun-fact about the painting is if you look closely, just above the mirror, there are words written in Latin, which basically translates to ‘Jan van Eyck was here, 1434’. This quirky feature is not accidental as Van Eyck would often inscribe his pictures in a witty way. 

Food and Drink facilities? – Yes, there are food and drink facilities at the National Gallery. 

The National Dining Rooms offer stunning views across Trafalgar Square and the Menu offers the best in British Produce. 

The National Café offers all day dining, with a self-service Café. 

There is also an Espresso Bar which offers visitors a range of hot-drinks and cakes. 

Tours? – A free daily guided tour is available daily from 2-3pm, which gives visitors a 60-minute taster tour of the collection. Please see the link below for more information. 

Family Tours are also available (at a fixed cost – see above for more information

Nearest station/ Tube? – The nearest tube stations are Charing Cross (approx. a 3-5-minute walk) and Leicester Square (approx. a 6-minute walk) 

Bus routes? – Routes 3, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 24, 87, 91, 139, and 176 stops at Trafalgar Square.

Postcode/ address- The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

Accessibility? –  

Visitors with disabilities can get discounts on tickets for temporary exhibitions and can also bring an escort free of charge. 

There is a single parking space on Orange Street for Blue Badge holders only. Please book at-least 48 hours in advance by calling 020 7747 2590.

More general information about Accessibility can be found via the link below; 

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/visiting/access

Visitors who are Deaf or hard of hearing: 

The Gallery offers British Sign Language-interpreted talks on paintings for visitors who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. 

A BSL Gallery Introduction is also available on the Gallery website (please see the link above for the video) 

All Information Desks have induction loops, and large print transcripts for the Exhibitions are also available to collection when you visit. Please ring the number below to order one; 

020 7747 2885

Please see link below for more in-depth information about accessibility at the Gallery; 

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/visiting/access/deaf-or-hard-of-hearing-visitors

Visitors who are Blind or partially sighted: 

An audio tour featuring 23 highlight paintings from the collection, offering detailed and evocative descriptions of art works. This tour is available free of charge. 

Descriptive folders are available at the Portico Information Desk and can be made available at other desks on request, prior to, or during visits. These are free to use but must be returned. Each folder focuses on two paintings including descriptive text and interpretation in either large print (featuring photographic reproductions of close-up sections of the painting) or Braille (including tactile images)

Assistance Dogs are welcome at the Gallery, and Water is available upon request. 

Art sessions for visitors who are blind and partially sighted are also available at the Gallery.  

Please see link below for more in-depth information about accessibility at the Gallery; 

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/visiting/access/blind-and-partially-sighted-visitors

Visitors with mobility impairments:

The Getty, Sainsbury Wing, National Café and Pigott Education Centre entrance all have level access (The Main Portico entrance does not, as it is a Grade 1 listed building and cannot be adapted) 

Wheelchairs are available at the Gallery, if you require one please book advance via the number below;

020 7747 2590 

Seating is available all around the Gallery, and stools are available from the information desk and Sainsbury Wing cloakroom upon request (you are also welcome to bring a folding stool) 

Please see link below for more in-depth information about accessibility at the Gallery; 

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/visiting/access/visitors-with-mobility-access-requirements

Background Information of West Norwood Cemetery 

Located in the London Borough of Lambeth, West Norwood Cemetery is a 40-acre cemetery which, much like its fellow seven, is a mixture of historic monuments, catacombs, graves and cremation plots which have been named amongst the finest collection in London. Not only recognised by Lambeth Council as site of nature conservation value, West Norwood is also an important site of national historical and cultural interest, which led English Heritage to place it on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, describing it as ‘the first cemetery to be designed in the Gothic Revival Style’. 

Founded in 1836 by its own Act of Parliament, West Norwood Cemetery offered a rural setting in open countryside (as it was located outside of London at that time) and was designed to attract the attention of notable and wealthy Victorians who commissioned a plethora of mausoleums, vaults and graves in the gothic style. Interestingly, in 1842 a section of the cemetery was acquired by London’s Greek Orthodox community which led to the cemetery being filled with fine monuments and mausoleums which aimed to memorialise their Anglo-Hellenic heritage. The cemeteries unique blend of culture and architectural styles makes it a unique experience for visitors- lets get into some of these must-see sights that cannot be missed 

Top 5 must see sights of West Norwood Cemetery 

  1. Henry Tate (1819-1899)

Many people reading this may recognise the surname of this famous resident, as he is in fact THE Henry Tate who established the Tate Britain Gallery, London in 1897. Born in 1819 in Lancashire, Henry Tate was an English sugar merchant and philanthropist who was the son of a unitarian Clergyman. Tate’s wealth grew from the success of his sugar and grocery business, and he soon became a member of the aristocracy who donated generously to charity. In 1889, Tate donated a collection of 65 contemporary paintings to the government on the condition that they be displayed in a gallery (towards which he donated £80,000 for them to build) The National Gallery of British Art (Now Tate Britain) was opened on 21st July 1897, and throughout his lifetime Tate continued to donate, often anonymously, to a plethora of causes he held passionate about. A fun fact about the man behind the gallery is that he was made a Baronet in 1898, after continually refusing the title, because he was told the Royal Family would be offended if he refused it again! Sir Henry Tate is buried in a family mausoleum in the Cemetery, be sure not to miss this important figure of London’s history. 

  1. West Norwood Catacombs (1837) 

Opened in 1837, the West Norwood Catacombs are located below the Anglican and Dissenters’ chapels which both suffered bomb damage during the Second World War and were subsequently demolished. The catacombs are laid out in six vault passages, which are comprised of 95 vaults with a capacity for 3500 coffins which are comprised of both private and shared loculi (which are coffin spaces). In the centre of the catacombs, there is a hydraulic catafalque which was a coffin lift designed by Bramah and Robinson in 1839 to transfer coffins from the chapel which was above them down into the catacombs for final burial. The Catacombs are not currently open to the public; however, tours are often available throughout the year- Be sure to check out the West Norwood Cemetery for more information about booking this tour.  

  1. Henry Doulton (1820-1897) 

Another name readers may recognise is Henry Doulton, a Victorian inventor and manufacturer of pottery who was also an instrumental developer in the creation of Royal Doulton ceramics. Born in Vauxhall in 1820, Doulton was the second of eight children and the son of a potter manufacturer and business owner, to which Henry himself joined in 1835. Doulton experimented with a variety of methods and styles of potter making, and in 1846 he superintended the manufacture of drainage and sanitary appliances in Lambeth which helped to make the firm famous. In 1870 the manufacture of ‘art pottery’ began in Lambeth, which joined together the skills of the students from the Lambeth Art school (now the City and Guilds of London Art School) where a variety of porcelains and earthenware was produced. The Doulton business continued to expand and prosper across the years, as did Doulton himself who received a knighthood in 1887 and also the Albert Medal by the Royal Society of Arts in 1885. Sadly however, Doulton died at his residence in London in 1897 and he was placed in a mausoleum in West Norwood Cemetery which is constructed from red pottery tiles and brick from the Doulton Works, which subsequently made it a Grade II listed building. 

  1. Princess Eugenie Palaeologue (1848-1934)

Mystery shrouds the story of Princess Palaeologue as very little is known of her true ancestry or how she came to be in London…however, interestingly her surname Palaeologue takes its descent from the Byzantine Greek family who rose to nobility and produce the last ruling dynasty of the Byzantine Empire in the Duchy of Montferrat (an area in Northern Italy). Upon further research, the Times Newspaper also seems to explore the mystery of Princess Eugenie claiming that had ‘descent from Constantine the Great, and who at one time laid claim to the throne of Greece’. Although very few records of this kind exist, I was able to uncover that Eugenie was married to Colonel Edmund H. Wickham (Royal Artillery) with whom she had four sons with, who sadly all died before her in the First World War and another who tragically drowned at Teddington Weir. After suffering from ill-health for several years before, Princess Eugenie died in 1934 at the age of 86. Her funeral service was held at a Greek Church in Bayswater, from where she was taken to West Norwood Cemetery to be buried along side her husband and two of her four sons. 

  1. Mortuary Chapel  

Following on from the cemeteries inclement rich Greek heritage is the Mortuary Chapel. Built in 1842 in dedication to St Stephen, the Mortuary Chapel was created in memory of Augustus Ralli, who had died of a rheumatic fever whilst attending Eton in 1872. Designed by Edward Middleton Barry (the son of Charles Barry who designed the Houses of Parliament) who was a high-profile architect of the period, Middleton was drew his influence from the architectural style of the Parthenon in Athens however, instead of Ancient Greek imagery the chapel features Christian. The Mortuary Chapel is a must see site when visiting West Norwood, as it stands out as one of the most beautiful and unique memorials within the whole cemetery (the Chapel is located in the Greek Necropolis) 

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