Welcome to The London Art Traveller

Exploring the city’s great collections, and a few surprises

So I’m temporarily renaming my blog London Art Traveller! With all this talk about travelling and coronavirus I should tell you that I had to give up all of my plans for 2020, which was supposed to be my year of Art Travelling. The original plan once I finished my PhD was to spend a year travelling the world great art collections and then sit down write a book about it. I’m still going to do that, just obviously not in 2020.

My plans all cancelled!

So where was I going to go? I had tickets to fly to Egypt so I could investigate the magnificent collections in the famed Alexandria library as well as the art collections of both modern an ancient Egypt in Alexandria and Cairo. I had planned to see the great temples of Luxor. All of this postponed. But I got all of my money back – thanks Expedia!  

I had also intended to go to Berlin, not only to see the city’s great museums but also to immerse myself in its wonderful contemporary art scene and see my beloved artist friends like Agnes Domke, Jenny Brockmann, Leo Koenigsberg and others.

In June I had intended to go to Montreal, Canada’s greatest art city. Plans for later in the year included possible return to Portugal. And I wanted to spend at least a part of the autumn in Prague and the hinterlands of Bohemia.

Instead, I’m here in London. Now don’t get me wrong I love London and I chose to live here but there’s something disappointing about being forced to stay home when you were intending to travel, especially if you are an art writer whose lifeblood is about travelling around the world looking at art.

London, one of the world’s great art cities

But then I realised London really is one of the great cities in the world and the vast majority of people who are interested in art would give their right arm to be spending the summer in London! So this is exactly what I’m doing, becoming a London art traveller.

At least for the foreseeable future!

London museums are already open, with suitable social distancing and mask wearing enforced.

So, I have already visited the Titian exhibition and I’m just waiting to finish the marvellous book Titian The Last Years (by Mark Hudson) before I present to you my article. Here are a few tasters I took from the show:

detail from the Titian painting of the Virgin St Catherine (153) – very naturalistic rendering of women adoring a baby!

Last week I went to the Wallace collection, and I’m going to write about it in a great deal more detail very soon.

the splendour of the Wallace Collection

Finally, next week I’m going to the Tate Modern which should yield more than one decent blog post. Tate is usually extremely crowded, especially this time of year, and going through the permanent collection (which is pretty magnificent) can sometimes feel overwhelming. One of the only benefits of the current situation is that London Is relatively empty and its art spaces now have to be booked so a limited number of people can go. This means that I’m going to get to see the artworks in relative peace and comfort. I’m really excited about this because Tate Modern is, generally speaking, not the most comfortable place because of the crowds .

I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to go to the Tate Modern’s Warhol exhibition. In all honesty I’ve never been a big fan of Warhol and I can’t decide whether or not I should go and see it out of my duty to art writing or just really let it go. You’ll find out soon enough what decision I make.

I’m also going to go and see the Museum of London which is not really an art space but has a lot of amazing artefacts.

The other thing I’m going to do is report on things which aren’t exactly art which are pretty close to it, so stay tuned to The London Art Traveller for my next blog posts and I think you’ll find them pretty exciting.