The modern Guildhall Art Gallery stands adjacent to the historic Guildhall, home to the Corporation of London for over 800 years.
The Corporation’s own collection of predominantly London themed artworks cover the City’s long history back to Roman times. The capital as a subject accounts for nearly half of the 4500 items available for display, around 250 are exhibited at any one time.
Themes include Beauty, Work, Leisure, Love, Imagination, and of course London.
The Heart Of The Empire
A personal favourite is ‘The Heart Of The Empire’ by Niels Moeller Lund. The Danish artist portrays Bank Junction in the City of London as if he was sitting with his easel on the roof top of The Royal Exchange, looking down at the busy scene below. The painting symbolises not only the geographic heart of the old city, but also the significant economic power that emanated from this small part of England when financing Britain’s global empire. The Spires of Sir Christopher Wren’s City churches spread across the canvas, whilst the great architect’s St. Paul’s Cathedral stands proudly in the centre.
At the lowest level in the gallery is the remains of London’s Roman Amphitheatre, only discovered during excavations in 1988 when the Guildhall Art Gallery was being built.
The public enjoy free entry to the Art Galleries and the Amphitheatre 7 days a week, although an entry fee may be required for some temporary exhibitions and special events.