Admire masterpieces from Tudor times through to today from Britain’s finest artists as you wander around the galleries of Tate Britain, holders of one of the most significant collections of British art in the world.
- See the world’s largest collection of works by JMW Turner, one of the most celebrated British artists.
- Take a look at Gin Lane, Hogarth’s illustration of 1751 displaying the perceived evils resulting from the drinking of gin.
- Admire the 1938 sculpture Recumbent Figure, one of a number of pieces by Henry Moore you can see at Tate Britain.
What to Do and See
Tate Britain is the holder of 300 oil paintings by JMW Turner, as well as thousands of sketches and watercolours by the great artist. The Clore Gallery features Turner’s work through changing displays, giving you the chance to see up close the landscapes and marine paintings which are still much loved today. Tate Britain is home to the largest collection of this innovative artist’s work.
Walk Through History
The galleries at Tate Britain allow you to take a chronological walk through the great works of British art. Taking in over 500 years of British art, you can view pieces from iconic artists including John Constable, Mary Beale, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Barbara Hepworth Joshua Reynolds, Peter Blake, Tracey Emin and many more. The Tate Britain galleries are a reflection of the impact and importance of British artists through the ages.
Tate Britain holds a huge archive of over one million fascinating items relating to art and artists which can be viewed in changing displays. These not only include artworks, but also sketchbooks, photographs, letters and other assorted items of interest.
These galleries were designed specifically to display works of British sculpture, the first public galleries given over to this art form. Within the striking neo-classical design of the Duveen galleries, the Tate Britain commissions a British artist each year to display their work here. This has previously included Fiona Banner, Mark Wallinger and Mona Hatoum.
Prints and Drawing Room
The sheer scale of the artwork held by Tate Britain means much of it can not be displayed at any one time. However, by visiting the prints and drawing room you can look at work on paper from artists such as JMW Turner right through to the leading artists of today. In this room you can view sketchbooks, watercolours, prints, drawings and more.
Did you know: (4 interesting facts!)
- Tate Britain was built on the site of the former Millbank Penitentiary, which was used as the last departure point for convicts being sent to Australia.
- Tate Britain is one of four Tate galleries in the UK, the others being Tate Modern in London, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives in Cornwall.
- Until 2000 the gallery was known as the Tate Gallery, changing to its current name after its collections of modern art were moved to the newly opened Tate Modern.
- The gallery has its own boat service on the Thames, which regularly runs between Tate Britain and Tate Modern during gallery opening hours.
- 1893 – Construction begins with the core building designed by architect Sidney R.J Smith.
- 1910 – Bulk of Turner bequest transferred to Tate gallery from National Gallery.
- 1917 – Given responsibility for collection of national art from the 1500s as well as international modern and contemporary art.
- 1932 – Officially adopted its popularly known name Tate Gallery, changing from original National Gallery of British Art.
- 1937 – Opening of Duveen sculpture galleries funded by Lord Duveen, the first public galleries in England designed specifically to display sculptures.
- 1955 – Tate Gallery becomes independent of the National Gallery.
- 1979 – Major extension to the North-East corner of the gallery.
- 1987 – Clore gallery opened which displays works from their JMW Turner collection.
- 2000 – Name changed to Tate Britain with its collection of modern art transferring to the newly opened Tate Modern.
Facilities and Accessibility
Tate Britain is a wheelchair accessible facility, with wheelchairs, scooters and walkers available if required. The Manton entrance on Atterbury Street has a ramp down to an entrance with sliding doors. This brings you into the lower floor of the gallery and there is a lift which takes you to the main floor galleries. Toilets can be found on the lower gallery floor as well as in the foyer of the Clore Gallery.
Guide dogs, hearing dogs and assistance dogs are welcome at Tate Britain. Enlarged print gallery plans are available, as are large print guides for the special exhibitions, although large print captions are not currently available for the permanent collections. There are hearing loops in parts of the gallery and on most of the gallery tours. Trained guides also deliver tours in British Sign Language.
The lower floor hosts a cafe serving a range of hot and cold food and drinks. The same floor also has the Rex Whistler restaurant where you can choose from their seasonal British menu. Similarly, Tate Britain also has two shops for you to buy your gifts and souvenirs. The main shop can be found by the Mill bank entrance on the main floor of the gallery, while the Manton shop is located on the lower floor in the Manton foyer.