5 Exhibitions to Catch This Winter

Can you believe the countdown to Christmas is on? It really doesn’t seem that long ago we were ringing in the new year.

And what a year it was! 2019 has been a great year for historical exhibitions (I mean, I’m still dreaming about the delight that was the Dior exhibition at the V&A) but its not over yet! With just 11 weeks to go until 2020 is here, there is still plenty of time to pack in one of these brilliant winter exhibitions.

1.William Blake at Tate Britain 

William Blake was an English poet, painter, and print maker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, and dying in poverty and obscurity, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age.

This new exhibition contains over 300 of Blake’s works, and even includes a reconstruction of the Georgian hosiery shop in Broad Street, London owned by Blake’s brother. This was where the artist staged a one-off exhibition in 1809 – which you can experience in this recreation today.

When? 11th September 2019 – 2nd February 2020

Where? Tate Britain, London

How much? £18 for an adult ticket – check the website for concessions

Copyright – Tate Britain

2. Inspired By The East at The British Museum

There are several historians who I follow on Twitter who got to see a sneak preview of this new exhibition – and they were very complimentary! The latest exhibition from The British Museum explores the impact the Islamic world has had on Western art for centuries – and is open to visit now.

As part of this exhibition you can see the world’s earliest travel guidePeregrinatio in Terram Sanctam (pilgrimage to the Holy Land).  The book was written by Bernhard von Breydenbach in 1486 following his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and features illustrations of Venice and Jerusalem.

When? 10th October 2019 – 26th January 2020

Where? The British Museum, London

How much? £14 for an adult ticket – check the website for concessions

Copyright – British Museum

3. The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I at Hampton Court Palace

The Bacton Altar Cloth, a rare survival of Elizabeth I’s wardrobe, is now on display at her former home. The cloth is displayed alongside the iconic Rainbow Portrait, on loan from Hatfield House. The reason? The painting depicts Elizabeth I wearing a gown that bears a striking resemblance to the cloth.

It seems likely that the embroidered silk cloth found its way to the village of Bacton via Blanche Parry, Elizabeth’s Chief Gentlewoman. It was then kept safe as an altar cloth for centuries, before being identified as a rare piece of 16th-century clothing.

When? 12th October 2019 – 23rd February 2020

Where? Hampton Court Palace, nr. London

How much? Included in the normal admission price for Hampton Court Palace

Copyright – Historic Royal Palaces

4. Pre-Raphaelite Sisters at The National Portrait Gallery

I am truly gutted I can’t make it to London in time to see this exhibition – especially when I picked it as one of my top exhibitions to look out for at the start of the year. I’ve always loved the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood so its great to see an exhibition devoted to the overlooked contribution of women to this artistic movement.

Look out Effie Grey – Ruskin’s wife who left him for Millais – and Fanny Eaton, a daughter of an ex-slave who sat for both Millais and Rossetti. These are the stories of just two of the remarkable women featured in the exhibition.

When? 17th October 2019 – 26th January 2020

Where? The National Portrait Gallery, London

How much? £18 for an adult ticket – check the website for concessions

5. George IV: Art and Spectacle at The Queen’s Gallery

When you think of royals and extravagant spending, you can’t help but think of the corpulent George IV. Much of his unrivalled collection of art remains in The Royal Collection to this day, and will shortly be on display at The Queen’s Gallery, next to Buckingham Palace.

Expect ‘Dutch and Flemish masterpieces, magnificent portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence and Sir Joshua Reynolds, delicate French porcelain, intricate goldsmiths’ work and elegant books and drawings‘.

When? 15th November 2019 – 3rd May 2020

Where? The Queens Gallery, London

How much? £13.50 for an adult ticket – check the website for concessions

It’s a really exciting and diverse set of exhibitions we have to entertain ourselves with this winter. Which one is on the top of your list, and why?



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