Somerset House

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Somerset House is a spectacular neo-classical building in the heart of London, sitting between the Strand and the River Thames. During summer months a 'grove' of 55 fountains dance in the courtyard, and in winter you can skate on London's favourite outdoor ice rink. Somerset House also hosts open-air concerts and films, contemporary art and design exhibitions, family workshops and free guided tours of spaces usually hidden to visitors.

Venue Type:

Gallery, Heritage site, Historic house or home

See also

Opening hours

Embankment level 10.00-18.00

The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court 07.30-23.00

River Terrace & Seamen's Hall 08.00-23.00

Embankment Galleries (during exhibitions) 10.00-18.00 (last admission 17.30)

Admission charges

Entrance to Somerset House is free.
There is a charge for some temporary exhibitions please see www.somersethouse.org.uk for further details

Getting there

The nearest mainline rail stations are:
Charing Cross, Waterloo and Blackfriars.

The nearest underground stations are:
Temple, Covent Garden, Charing Cross and Embankment.

Buses servicing the Strand include numbers 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 77a, 91 and 176, while the River Bus Service can be taken to Embankment and Savoy piers.

Pedestrian access to Somerset House is available from Victoria Embankment, Waterloo Bridge (via a new footbridge link) or from the Strand.

Additional info

Smoking
Smoking is not permitted inside the buildings. Smoking is permitted on the River Terrace and in The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court.

Photography
Non-commercial photography is welcomed in most parts of Somerset House except, for reasons of copyright, in the Seamen's Hall and the King's Barge House. The use of tripods is not permitted for safety reasons. Visitors wishing to take non-flash photography at The Courtauld Gallery should enquire at the admissions desk. Unauthorised wedding photography is not permitted.

Fountains
The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court is at the heart of Somerset House - a dignified courtyard with a mischievous streak.
The array of jets dance in an orchestrated sequence, with added coloured lighting at night - a refreshing surprise on a warm summer day.
To confirm you can see the fountain displays on your visit please call
020 7845 4600.

Collection details

Social History, Photography, Maritime, Fine Art, Design, Decorative and Applied Art, Architecture

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Beneath the Surface

  • 21 May — 24 August 2015 *on now

This exhibition of some 200 works reflects the Embankment Galleries’ riverfront location in one of London’s most ancient quarters, focussing on images of water, the topography of the city and the people within it. Depictions of water - implying depths beneath the surface - provide a metaphor for the richness of the V&A’s collection, and the exhibition will also include photographs of the museum itself. Selected from a collection that dates back to 1852, Beneath the Surface comprises unseen or rarely-displayed photographs chosen by Martin Barnes, the museum’s Senior Curator of Photographs.

Beneath the Surface includes works by the earliest practitioners in the field, including nineteenth-century masters William Strudwick, Victor Prout and Charles Thurston Thompson
great observers of twentieth-century life such as Thurston Hopkins, John Gay and Brassaï
contemporary and fine art photography by Susan Derges, Nigel Shafran, Sinje Dillenkofer, Stephen Gill and Naoya Hatakeyama, and photographic works by practitioners better known in other media, such as graphic designer Robert Brownjohn and installation artists Ackroyd & Harvey

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Where

Embankment Galleries

Admission

Exclusive to Photo London ticket holders between 21 – 24 May 2015
£6.00/£5.00 thereafter

Website

http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/beneath-the-surface

Unseen Waterloo, Somerset House, London

Unseen Waterloo - Photographs from the battlefield by Sam Faulkner

  • 12 June — 30 August 2015

Since 2009 Sam Faulkner has been travelling to the battlefields of Waterloo in Belgium to create a unique set of photographs that commemorate the 70,000 men who fell that day.

The exhibition will comprise over 80 life-sized photographs made in the actual fields where the battle was fought. The subjects are the characters created during the annual re-enactment of the battle.

A book will be published on 18th June 2015 to coincide with the exhibition. The book can be pre-ordered on the Unseen Waterloo website.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.unseenwaterloo.co.uk

The Jam: About the Young Idea

  • 26 June — 31 August 2015

This summer, Somerset House, in collaboration with Nice Time Inc Productions, is proud to present The Jam: About the Young Idea. With unprecedented access to The Jam’s archive, Somerset House will curate the first comprehensive exhibition about the extraordinary band whose music immortalised life for Britain’s disenchanted youth during the late 70s and early 80s. Through unseen material and fan memorabilia, the exhibition will chart the trio’s journey from Sheerwater Secondary Modern in Woking to superstardom, kick-started by the release of their debut hit single ‘In The City’, whose lyrics are referenced in the exhibition’s title, and ended six years later with 18 consecutive UK top 40 singles and over 14 million global album sales.

For the very first time, all three members of the band – Paul Weller, Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton – the Weller family and music archivist Den Davis have opened up their archives, especially for the show. The collection, which is curated by frontman Paul’s sister and former head of The Jam’s fan club Nicky Weller, Tory Turk and Russell Reader with additional advice from DJ Gary Crowley, includes hand written lyrics, original stage outfits, personal photographs and footage, unreleased music videos, early scrapbooks, letters and postcards, posters and fanzines, and the band’s instruments. The exhibition, designed in reference to album artworks and featuring original graphics from celebrated artist Anthony Burrill, will provide a unique and personal insight into the band’s trailblazing life and the retrospect legacy The Jam left on music, style, politics and culture.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Exhibition Ticket £9.50, concessions £7.00
Exhibition Ticket & CD Package £17.50, concessions £15.00

Website

http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/the-jam-about-the-young-idea

Art, Identity, Migration: 100 Years of Ben Uri in London 1915–2015

  • 1 July — 13 December 2015

To celebrate Ben Uri's foundation in 1915, this unique exhibition exploring the experience of identity and migration during the last century, also offers a rare chance to view many masterpieces from the museum's collection.

Encompassing paintings, work on paper, sculpture, new media and archival pieces, the exhibition will explore related issues of historical and contemporary displacement and migration.

It will include not only world-class works by artists such as Auerbach, Chagall and Soutine, but also important examples of fine work by lesser-known emigrés who were not so fortunate in their careers for a variety of reasons often related to their migration and for whom Ben Uri provided an important exhibition platform.

Suitable for

Website

http://www.benuri.org.uk/public/?centenary-countdown-at-ben-uri

Summer Screen Prints

  • 30 July — 23 August 2015

Your chance to buy limited-edition prints inspired by the films in the Film4 Summer Screen season.

Back for a third year, Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House has commissioned screen-printing aficionado’s Print Club London to curate a series of contemporary screen-printed film posters.

Renowned for curating and dealing screen-printed artworks, as well as its workshops, Print Club London has hand-picked an assortment of artists and styles including Rose Blake, street artist RYCA , Ben Rider and Lucille Clerc, to reflect the veritable variety of films featuring on the big screen.

Open during the day and for each evening event, the Summer Screen Prints exhibition will feature established designers alongside emerging new talent in the illustrative world. Each exhibiting artist will reimagine a poster for one of the films in this season’s line-up, taking particular scenes, quotes, characters or anything else from their selected title as inspiration.

Each of the posters will be part of a limited-edition, signed by the artist and numbered, and exclusively available to buy for £50 from the exhibition at Somerset House.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/summer-screen-prints

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
From Unseen Waterloo

Unseen Waterloo: The Conflict Revisited Spotlight Tours

  • 17 June — 31 August 2015

A member of our Learning team puts the spotlight on the Battle of Waterloo and examines how a two hundred year old conflict has affected our history, dress, and culture. Spaces limited.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
From Unseen Waterloo

Unseen Waterloo:The Conflict Revisited Stendhal and the Battle of Waterloo

  • 18 June 2015 7-8:30pm

On the 200th anniversary of Battle of Waterloo the Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation present an evening examining the cultural impact of the battle in particular on the great French novelist Marie-Henri Beyle, also known as Stendhal. The talk takes place alongside the Unseen Waterloo: The Conflict Revisited exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£10.00 / £8.00

From Unseen Waterloo

Free Family Drop In Workshop: Battledress

  • 4 July 2015 12-3pm

Uniforms don’t have to be uniform. Take your cues from military dress worn at the Battle of Waterloo and colour and collage authentic miniature soldiers drawn by artist Craig Coulthard.

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Admission

Free for families with accompanied children aged 6-12 years.

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

A Very Grand Tour for KS1 or KS2

Embark on a tour of the Gilbert Collection
with our eighteenth century aristocrat the
Marquis di Macaroni. Listen to his tales of
European travel in the past and marvel at the
exotic objects in the Gilbert Collection. This
workshop can be used to support work on
leisure, transport and clothing in the past.
This tour is available on Fridays at either
10.30am or at 1.30pm and includes
entrance into the Gilbert Collection.
Cost £30.00 plus VAT per class.

How to obtain

Call the Education Department on 020 7420 9406 for more information or to make a booking

A Box Full of Stories for KS1 and KS2 to support the Literacy Hour

This workshop uses the Gilbert Collection’s
outstanding collection of sparkling gold
boxes to extend literacy skills. Using drama
games and descriptive exercises, the
children create their own stories and art
work inspired by the gold box collection.
This workshop is available on Thursdays at either 10.30am
or 1.30pm and includes entrance to the
Gilbert Collection.
Cost £30.00 plus VAT per class.

How to obtain

For further information or to book a session please call the Education Department on 020 7420 9406

A Victorian Excursion – History workshop for KS1 or KS2

This lively lesson based in the Gilbert Collection looks at the Victorian fashion for European travel. After an imaginary journey, the children will ‘arrive in Italy’ where they can wander amongst the Gilbert Collection’s unique display of micromosaic pictures, jewellery and furniture and ‘select a
souvenir’ to sketch for those back home.
This workshop is available at either 10.30am
or 1.30pm and includes entrance to the
Gilbert Collection.
Cost £30.00 plus VAT per class.

How to obtain

For further information or to book a session please call the Education Department on 020 7420 9406

Britain 1750-1900 – Tour of Somerset House

As home of the British Navy, Somerset House
had a vital role in this period. This tour
provides a unique insight in to the role of a
key government institution at this time of
great social, political and economic change.
This tour is available at either 10.30am
or 1.30am.
Cost £30.00 plus VAT per class.

How to obtain

For further information or to book a session please call the Education Department on 0207 420 9406

Cabinet of Curiosities – Art Workshop for KS1 or KS2

This workshop uses the amazing objects in
the Gilbert Collection to inspire the children
to create their own ‘cabinet of curiosities’.
A tour of the Gilbert Collection is the
stimulus for 3D and collage work resulting in
the creation of a replica 17th century
collector’s cabinet.
This all day workshop starting at 10.30am
includes entrance to the Gilbert Collection.
Cost £45.00 plus VAT per class.

How to obtain

For further information or to book a session please call the Education Department on 020 7420 9406

Investigating the Tudors – History workshop for KS2

This session based around the spectacular
Gilbert Collection encourages the interactive
use of historical sources to investigate life in
Tudor times and develops skills of historical
enquiry. Children will have opportunities to
create their own art work and learn about
Elizabethan banqueting; the session draws
on the rich history of Somerset House and
includes a teachers’ follow up pack.
This workshop is available at either 10.30am
or 1.30pm and includes entrance into the
Gilbert Collection.
Cost £30.00 plus VAT per class.

How to obtain

For further information or to make a booking please call 020 7420 9406

Getting there

The nearest mainline rail stations are:
Charing Cross, Waterloo and Blackfriars.

The nearest underground stations are:
Temple, Covent Garden, Charing Cross and Embankment.

Buses servicing the Strand include numbers 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 77a, 91 and 176, while the River Bus Service can be taken to Embankment and Savoy piers.

Pedestrian access to Somerset House is available from Victoria Embankment, Waterloo Bridge (via a new footbridge link) or from the Strand.

Somerset House
Strand
London
Greater London
WC2R 1LA
England

Website

www.somersethouse.org.uk

E-mail

info@somersethouse.org.uk

Telephone

020 7845 4600

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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