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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.
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
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: 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’.
- 25 February — 25 May 2015 *on now
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 *on now
This is the first exhibition in Britain devoted to salted paper prints, one of the earliest forms of photography. A uniquely British invention, unveiled by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1839, salt prints spread across the globe, creating a new visual language of the modern moment.
This revolutionary technique transformed subjects from still lifes, portraits, landscapes and scenes of daily life into images with their own specific aesthetic: a soft, luxurious effect particular to this photographic process.
The few salt prints that survive are seldom seen due to their fragility, and so this exhibition, a collaboration with the Wilson Centre for Photography, is a singular opportunity to see the rarest and best early photographs of this type in the world.
Organised in collaboration with the Wilson Centre for Photography.
- Family friendly
Adult £12.00 (without donation £10.90)
Concession £10.50 (without donation £9.50)
Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process
- 10 March — 17 May 2015 *on now
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.
Oswaldo Maciá: Something Going on Above My Head
- 16 March — 1 September 2015 *on now
Something Going on Above My Head (1995-9) brings together the sounds of two thousand birds, creating what the artist calls a ‘sculpture’.
For five years, Oswaldo Maciá (b. 1960) collected bird calls from international ornithological archives and audio libraries, reworking them into a symphony, scored according to the birds’ pitches. Carefully positioned speakers fill the space with a mesmerising chorus that the visitor experiences above their head, much in the way that true birdsong is experienced.
BP Spotlight: Tracey Emin and Francis Bacon
- 21 March 2015 — 1 June 2016 *on now
Tracey Emin’s installation My Bed 1998 returns to Tate Britain after it first came to public attention when shown in the 1999 Turner Prize exhibition.
It is displayed here alongside six of the artist’s recent figure drawings, as well as two oil paintings by Francis Bacon selected by Emin. Her installation, as Bacon’s paintings do, retains a strong sense of the lived presence and memory traces of past events.
By virtue of bringing the domestic into the public sphere, without directly representing specific events, My Bed is forcefully and compellingly suggestive of personal narratives.
Tate Britain Commission 2015: Christina Mackie
- 24 March — 18 October 2015 *on now
This spring, Christina Mackie unveils a new three-part installation inspired by her interest in pigments and colour. Located in the dramatic Duveen Galleries at the heart of Tate Britain, Mackie fills half of the exhibition space with 12-metre-high dipped silk nets suspended above pans of semi-crystalised dye, to create an ethereal installation. These are shown together with a free-standing sculpture and a plinth displaying chunks of raw glass.
Mackie uses a range of media, but colour and perception remain central to her work. In the Tate Britain Commission 2015, Mackie develops ideas set out in previous projects. The solidity of the building and sculpture contrasts the fluidity of paint, while the nets are kept in a permanent state of flux by the changing light and colour in the Duveen Galleries.
- 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.
Late at Tate Speculate Series: Disrupt
- 1 May 2015 6-10pm
Late at Tate: May is the second of the Speculate series and explores the theme ‘disrupt’. Building on the theme of ‘question’ April, join in with alternative, disruptive ways of experiencing Tate Britain and the Tate collection.
Sound researchers, theorists, musicians and performance artists will present alternative interpretations of the gallery environment to disrupt the way you think about and experience art and artists.
Enjoy some sonic experimenation that expands the findings generated during Speculative Tate research series including ground breaking work from AUDINT, the latest project from the sonic researchers Toby Heys and Steve Goodman (Kode9).
Late at Tate Speculate Series: Transform
- 5 June 2015 6-10pm
Late at Tate: June is the third event in the Speculate series and explores the theme of ‘transform’. Ultimately, speculative thinking can have a transformative, creative affects, and the programme will present new transformed ways of looking and thinking about art at Tate Britain and the Tate collection.
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.