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Tate Britain is the national gallery of British art from 1500 to the present day, from the Tudors to the Turner Prize.
Open everyday 10.00-17.50
Open until 22.00 on the first Friday of each month
Closed: 24, 25, 26 December
Entry is free except for major exhibitions
- International Council of Museums
Tate holds the greatest collection of British art in the world, including works by Blake, Constable, Epstein, Gainsborough, Gilbert & George, Hatoum, Hirst, Hockney, Hodgkin, Hogarth, Moore, Rossetti, Sickert, Spencer, Stubbs and Turner. The gallery is the world centre for the understanding and enjoyment of British art, and helps promote interest in British art internationally.
Photography, Performing Arts, Fine Art, Film and Media, Archives
Key artists and exhibits
- Gilbert & George
David Tremlett Drawing for Free Thinking
- 19 September 2011 — 31 December 2016 *on now
Drawing for Free Thinking is a new wall drawing for Tate Britain, designed to wrap around the Manton stairwell. Inspired by the long tradition of twentieth-century constructivism and by David Tremlett’s involvement in conceptual art in the 1970s, Drawing for Free Thinking consists of broad blocks of strong colour, straight lines, squares and rectangles. It explores floor plans and architectural features the artist has encountered at the gallery such as doorways or windows abstracted into geometric shapes. Tremlett and his team of assistants work with pastel crayons which they rub directly onto the wall with the palms of their hands.
BP Spotlight: Keith Arnatt
- 11 March 2013 — 11 August 2016 *on now
Keith Arnatt was a British conceptual artist who used photography as a way of documenting perfromative acts that question the status of art and the role of the artist. Using recent acquisitions, this display will show the range of Arnatt’s work and his singular use of photography, focusing on his work of the 1970s and 1980s.
Reception, Rupture and Return: The Model and the Life Room
- 26 May 2014 — 19 April 2015 *on now
This display examines the role of the life model for the artist (and vice versa), the evolution and disruption of the life room, and the changing status of life drawing from the 19th to the 21st centuries.
It will examine both conservative and innovative practice (with an emphasis on the latter) with unique perspectives from the archives of three artists’ models.
Louise Bourgeois: Works on Paper
- 16 June 2014 — 12 April 2015 *on now
A four-room display bringing together a selection of Louise Bourgeois' prints, drawings and books from different points of her career.
- Family friendly
BP Walk through British Art
- 1 July 2014 — 31 December 2016 *on now
The BP Walk through British Art offers a circuit of Tate Britain’s unparalleled collection from its beginnings to its end. This ‘walk through time’ has been arranged to ensure that the collection’s full historical range, from 1545 to the present, is always on show. There are no designated themes or movements; instead, you can see a range of art made at any one moment in an open conversational manner.
As part of the BP Walk through British Art there are also two galleries on the main floor which are devoted to Henry Moore, one of Britain’s pre-eminent sculptors. The rooms explore Moore’s close personal relationship with Tate, investigate his working processes and highlight his public sculpture of the 1950s and 1960s.
The BP Walk through British Art also includes The Clore Gallery which is dedicated to the Turner Collection and houses the artist’s bequest to the nation. A room of works by Turner’s great rival and contemporary, John Constable, are also on display. The upper floor of the Clore gallery showcases a changing selection of representative works from Tate’s outstanding collection of paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints by the visionary artist William Blake.
- Family friendly
Olafur Eliasson: Turner Colour Experiments
- 8 September 2014 — 25 January 2015 *on now
Eliasson has investigated JMW Turner’s use of light and colour, abstracting the hues of seven of his paintings into dynamic colour studies.
- Family friendly
Late Turner: Painting Set Free
- 10 September 2014 — 25 January 2015 *on now
Late Turner: Painting Set Free reassesses Turner’s extraordinary body of work during his final period (1835–50) when some of his most celebrated works were created.
Beginning in 1835, the year that Turner reached 60, and closing with his last exhibits at the Royal Academy in 1850, the exhibition demonstrates how his closing years were a time of exceptional energy and vigour, initiated by one of his most extensive tours of Europe. Bringing together 150 works from the UK and abroad, it seeks to challenge assumptions around the idea of the ‘elderly’ artist, as well as his radical techniques, processes and materials during this productive time.
Featuring many large-scale oil paintings alongside drawings, prints and watercolour, the exhibition addresses the sheer range of materials and techniques he embraced. The show also includes such iconic works as Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus exh. 1839, The Wreck Buoy 1849 and Heidelberg: Sunset c.1840 (Manchester City Galleries).
- Any age
BP Spotlight: William Hazlitt: Through the Eyes of a Critic
- 29 September 2014 — 5 April 2015 *on now
This display looks at works by artists including Joshua Reynolds, David Wilkie and JMW Turner through the eyes of the man Kenneth Clark deemed ‘the best critic before Ruskin’, William Hazlitt (1778–1830).
Having trained first as a painter, Hazlitt went on to become one of the premier essayists of his day and a pioneering art critic. He wrote about many aspects of the production and reception of art, as conjured by essay titles including The Pleasure of Painting and On Sitting for One’s Picture. In art he valued gusto (power, passion) and fidelity to nature above all. His discussion of works now in the Tate collection forms the focus of this display.
BP Spotlight: Marlow Moss
- 29 September 2014 — 22 March 2015 *on now
This display presents a group of works by Marlow Moss, an artist once overlooked but now regarded as one of Britain’s most important constructivist artists. Drawn from collections in the UK and Europe, the paintings, reliefs and sculptures are primarily concerned with an interrogation of space, movement and light.
Before the Second World War, Moss produced highly abstract painted compositions similar to the work of Mondrian, with whom she associated. Moss’s practice also extended toward the production of all-white reliefs and sculptural works.
Moss lived and worked between Paris and Cornwall, changing her name and permanently adopting a masculine appearance in 1919. She settled in Lamorna Cove in 1941 where she became an influential figure for a younger generation of British artists.
BP Spotlight: Caroline Achaintre
- 13 October 2014 — 3 May 2015 *on now
The work of Caroline Achaintre (born 1969) encompasses a diverse range of media including textiles, ceramics, woodcuts and watercolours.
Deploying handcrafting techniques, her series of ceramic masks and large-scale wall-based textiles evoke the primitive and the carnivalesque. At times menacing, sexual and playful they allude to early moments in modernism such as German expressionism, while at the same time presenting many contradictions between art and design, fashion and taste, abstraction and figuration.
Assembled together to create an atmosphere of threat and the absurd, her fantastical works appear as shamanist tribal masks and objects made to face the fears of the present day.
BP Spotlight: Spaces of Black Modernism: London 1919–39
- 13 October 2014 — 29 March 2015 *on now
Spaces of Black Modernism: London 1919–39 explores the experiences and interactions of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds in London’s art world between the wars.
In the inter-war period, cosmopolitan networks of artists, activists, writers and artists’ models in London helped shape the cultural and political identity of the city. The studios, art colleges and social clubs of Chelsea, Bloomsbury and Soho became places of trans-national exchange.
Spaces of Black Modernism draws together paintings, sculpture, photographs and archival material from Tate’s collection with others loaned from public and private collections. It follows the interactions between artists such as John Banting, Edward Burra, Jacob Epstein, Barbara Ker-Seymer, Ronald Moody, Glyn Philpot and Matthew Smith with others including the writers Claude McKay and Una Marson, the poet and political activist Nancy Cunard, the model ‘Sunita’ (Amina Peerbhoy) and the singer Elisabeth Welch.
The display is curated by Dr Gemma Romain and Dr Caroline Bressey of University College London with Emma Chambers (Curator of Modern British Art) and Inga Fraser (Assistant Curator, Modern British Art) at Tate Britain.
The display is a collaboration between Tate Britain and the Equiano Centre at University College London and builds on research from the Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded project, Drawing Over the Colour Line.
BP Spotlight: David Hall: TV Interruptions
- 13 October 2014 — 29 March 2015 *on now
TV Interruptions is an installation consisting of seven video works that were initially conceived as short interventions to be broadcast on television as part of the Edinburgh Festival in 1971.
The videos depict various actions, ranging from a burning television set to a running household tap. It was crucial for the artist that the works appeared unannounced and with no credit, disturbing passive viewing.
In the gallery installation, the videos are shown on seven randomly clustered monitors. Viewing is interrupted as sound and image merge and conflict, evoking a similar experience to when the works were originally shown on television.
Starting as a sculptor, David Hall became a pioneer of video art in Britain. He was involved with the Artist Placement Group and in 1976 he initiated and was a founder of London Video Arts – now LUX – which provided video artists with a platform to exhibit and distribute their work
- 13 October 2014 — 29 March 2015 *on now
This display brings together two series of work by the photographer Karen Knorr: Belgravia 1979–81 and Gentlemen 1981–83, which form part of the Eric and Louise Franck London Collection. Knorr’s work emerged out of debates in cultural studies that were current in the 1970s about the politics of representation.
The series, Gentlemen and Belgravia both combine image and text. Gentlemen brings together photographs taken in gentlemen’s clubs in central London with text constructed out of speeches of parliament and the news; in doing Knorr explores patriarchal values in the upper middle classes. Belgravia highlights the aspirations and lifestyle of a privileged minority living in one of the most affluent parts of London.
‘Poor man’s picture gallery’: Victorian Art and Stereoscopic Photography
- 13 October 2014 — 1 April 2015 *on now
‘Poor man’s picture gallery’: Victorian Art and Stereoscopic Photography is the first display in a major British art gallery devoted to early three-dimensional photography.
These ingenious but inexpensive stereograph pictures were a nineteenth century craze, circulating world-wide in tens of thousands and more.
Pioneers of the art form were quick to challenge fine art itself. Celebrated canvases of the age, such as Henry Wallis’s Chatterton and William Powell Frith’s Derby Day, were recreated in real depth.
This display brings twelve of Tate’s Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite works face to face with a rare collection of their three-dimensional doubles assembled by Brian May.
- Family friendly
BP Spotlight: William Hogarth 1697–1764
- 27 October 2014 — 26 April 2015 *on now
This display marks the 250th anniversary of the death of Hogarth. It includes almost all of his paintings in the Tate Collection, as well as prints, drawings and rarely seen items from the Tate Library and Archive.
The story of art in this country often begins with William Hogarth, who died in late October 1764. Satirist, printmaker, portraitist, history painter and art theorist, in the two hundred and fifty years since his death Hogarth has regularly been positioned as the founding father of British art. This persistent notion was reflected in the early years of Tate’s displays: for decades his was the earliest British work on show at Tate.
Hogarth first gained recognition painting scenes from the theatre. He went on to make his name with his darkly humorous ‘modern moral’ series depicting the declining fortunes of foolish or ignoble characters, and brought similar vivacity to the polite interiors of his ‘conversation piece’ portraits. In 1735 he founded an academy for artists and later wrote a treatise on the aesthetic theories he developed over the course of his career. Whether painting, printmaking or writing, he was concerned with forging and defending a distinctly British art.
In 1951 Tate mounted the first major exhibition of Hogarth’s work since 1814. Tate gained independence from the National Gallery in 1955 and started acquiring works in its own right, and further exhibitions and displays followed reflecting research into Hogarth’s life and art. From the early 1950s Tate also acquired work by earlier British artists, allowing Hogarth to be seen in the context of his predecessors: an innovative champion of British art, but by no means the first British artist.
BP Spotlight: New Brutalist Image 1949–55
- 24 November 2014 — 4 October 2015 *on now
In 1953 the sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi, the artist-photographer Nigel Henderson, and the architects Alison and Peter Smithson joined up with the pioneering structural engineer Ronald Jenkins to create the radical and still highly influential exhibition Parallel of Life and Art.
This historic collaboration was first forged during the design and building of the architecturally important Hunstanton School in Norfolk which was conceived by the Smithsons in 1949. Capturing the time and process of the building of Hunstanton, this display brings together an extensive range of previously unseen photographs by Henderson, drawings and proposals by the Smithsons, and sculptures by Paolozzi.
Curated with direct reference to the innovative design and commissioning process of Jenkins’s office at Ove Arup & Partners in 1951, the display highlights how this office project became the test-bed of ideas for the group’s design and installation of Parallel of Life and Art which underpinned the movement that the critic Reyner Banham would famously label ‘New Brutalism’.
- 8 December 2014 — 1 February 2015 *on now
This collection-based display celebrates Phillip King’s 80th birthday. King occupies a significant position in the history of late 20th century sculpture.
In the early 1960s he played a vital role in changing the face of British sculpture through his experimentation with abstraction, construction, material and colour.
- 25 February — 25 May 2015
Powerful, beautiful and inventive, the Victorian era was a golden age for sculpture. Tate Britain’s exhibition Sculpture Victorious celebrates some of the most astonishing and lavish works produced in this groundbreaking period.
Exploring the original techniques and materials developed during this time, the exhibition brings to light the ingenuity and creativity of the Victorian age. In a period of unparalleled innovation across industries, Victorian sculpture profited from ground-breaking new materials and methods that created a thrilling and cutting edge environment for Victorian sculptors.
The exhibition includes many extraordinary objects, from magnificent marble, limewood and ceramic sculpture shown at the Great Exhibitions, to exquisite jewellery and silverwork, and ornate carving of beauty and wonder such as Monti’s Veiled Vestal. Works from the exhibition touch on all aspects of Victorian life, exploring domestic politics, the reach of the empire, and the impact of the scientific and industrial age.
Revered works such as Frederic Leighton’s An Athlete Wrestling with a Python and Hiram Powers’s The Greek Slave are to be enjoyed alongside lesser-known artists such as Mary Watts and William Reynolds-Stephens. As well as offering an opportunity to explore some of the Victorian eras most cherished and groundbreaking works, Sculpture Victorious provides an in-depth exploration of the artistic and historical developments of one of Britain’s most prolific eras and is a feast for the eyes.
Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860
- 25 February — 7 June 2015
Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860 is the first major exhibition in Britain devoted to salt prints, the earliest form of paper photography.
The exhibition features some of the rarest and best early photographs in the world, depicting daily activities and historic moments of the mid 19th century. The ninety photographs on display are among the few fragile salt prints that survive and are seldom shown in public.
Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860 opens at Tate Britain on 25 February 2015.
- Family friendly
Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process
- 10 March — 17 May 2015
This major exhibition is the result of a unique collaboration between the artist Nick Waplington (b. 1965) and the acclaimed fashion designer Alexander McQueen (1969–2010).
In 2009, Waplington was given unprecedented access to McQueen’s idiosyncratic creative journey as he prepared his final Autumn/Winter collection, Horn of Plenty. McQueen conceived the Horn of Plenty collection as an iconoclastic retrospective of his career in fashion, reusing silhouettes and fabrics from his earlier collections, and creating a catwalk set out of discarded elements from the sets of his past shows.
Their collaboration reveals a raw side of the fashion world, juxtaposing Waplington’s candid images of McQueen’s intense and theatrical working process with rigorously produced photographs of recycling plants and landfills, creating a powerful commentary on destruction and creative renewal.
- 9 June — 13 September 2015
This exhibition focuses on the conflict, martyrdom and catastrophe found in history painting from the eighteenth century to the present day. In England, history painting first emerged in the eighteenth century.
Artists such as John Singleton Copley (1738–1815) and Benjamin West (1738–1820) presented recent British battles and deaths in the grandest possible manner and depicted scenes from ancient history to remind viewers of the timeless virtues to which they should aspire. This exhibition will show how these traditions of history painting have persisted in the work of British modernists such as Winifred Knights and Stanley Spencer, in Richard Hamilton and Rita Donagh’s work of the 1980s, in the work of Dexter Dalwood and in recent installations such as Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave 2001. It will celebrate the emotional power of history painting and show its persistent place in art.
- 24 June — 25 October 2015
Tate Britain will open the first major Barbara Hepworth exhibition in London for almost fifty years. Barbara Hepworth (1903–75) is most commonly associated with St Ives, Cornwall, where she lived from 1939 until her death in 1975.
This major retrospective will emphasise Hepworth’s often overlooked prominence in the international art world, of which she was a leading figure in the 1930s, and one of the most successful artists in the world during the 1950s and 1960s. The exhibition charts Hepworth’s progress from small carvings made as a young woman to the magnificent bronzes that became part of the great sculpture collections of the world. It will present many of her surviving pre-war carvings, and some of her most significant sculptures in wood, stone and bronze. The exhibition will also encompass rarely seen works, including textiles, drawings, collages and photograms.
- 9 October 2015 — 13 March 2016
Frank Auerbach (b 1931, Berlin) has made some of the most resonant and inventive paintings in recent times, both of people and of the urban landscapes near his studio in Camden Town.
Encompassing around 70 paintings and drawings, the first six rooms of the exhibition have been sparsely arranged, decade by decade, working closely with the artist. The works in the last two rooms have been selected in consultation with the art historian Catherine Lampert (who has sat for Auerbach since 1978) and they will comprise clusters of work with similar subjects or structures, each piece resolved in a wholly fresh and physical way.
Artist and Empire
- 25 November 2015 — 10 April 2016
This exhibition will be the first major presentation of the art associated with the British Empire from the sixteenth century to the present day.
Bringing together extraordinary and unexpected artworks from UK collections, both public and private, it will explore how diverse artists around the world responded to the experience of empire.
Comprising sculpture, painting and works on paper, the exhibition will examine the role of art in communicating power relations and cross-cultural translation at different periods of British history. It will consider how the empire shaped some of the themes, ways of making and patterns of collecting which defined British art in the past and which continue to have resonance today.
Performance, Collaboration, Photography: actions of exchange
- 17 February 2015
A conversation with Manuel Vason, Hugo Glendinning, Alastair MacLennan, Aine Phillips, Oreet Ashery and the Famous Lauren Barri Holstein focusing on ideas explored in Vason's first book Double Exposures. Signed copies of the book will be available to buy on the night.
Launching across the UK from 1 January 2015, Double Exposures is a new collaboration and publication between photographer and artist Manuel Vason and forty of the most visually provocative artists working in international contemporary live performance. Exploring fresh ways of bridging performance and photography, the full colour hardback book includes established artists such as Ron Athey, Oreet Ashery, Franko B, Ansuman Biswas, Maria Carnesky, Brian Catling, Mat Fraser, Alistair MacLennan, Joshua Sofaer and Mad For Real, as well as newer names including Dickie Beau, Eloise Fornieres, Helena Hunter and Florence Peake. Double Exposures refers to both the accidental and the deliberate in photographic practice, but also relates to the development and presentation of the works themselves. It follows the publication of Exposures twelve years ago, Vason’s groundbreaking and controversial first book.
- Not suitable for children
My Imaginary City
Artists use their imaginations to create scenes and places that are not real and that might never exist. If you could invent your own imaginary city what would it be like?
Schools and Teachers
All the resources you need for teaching art in the classroom, from Teachers' Packs to teacher training.
Webquests are online activities for children, using the collections of nine national museums and galleries.
The Case of the Mysterious Object
The Silver Cage: Film
Inspired by Cornelia Parker's 'Thirty Pieces of Silver', the Art Sparks create their own work, 'The Silver Cage'. Watch the film to see what they did.
How to obtain
View online on the Tate Kids site.
The Zoom Room
Welcome to the Zoom Room, where you can zoom into fresh ideas for making art. The Zoom Room contains an archive of informal art activities carried out by children in the Tate galleries. Get new ideas for making collages, creating snow globes, putting on performances, or carving soap sculptures. Tips are provided for children, explaining how to carry out these activities in the classroom or at home.