THE MUSEUM OF LONDON (Continued)
ART GALLERIES - SMALLER COLLECTIONS AND EXHIBITION GALLERIES
Many of London's smaller galleries house masterpieces which could happily hang beside the works in the three great national galleries. Some of the smaller collections have been presented to the nation, and some are privately owned. Several of the galleries mentioned are used only for temporary exhibitions and are not regularly open to the public.
COURTAULD INSTITUTE GALLERIES
This superb collection of paintings was begun by Samuel Courtauld in the 1930's and presented to the University of London in memory of his wife. It is most famous for its Impressionist and Post Impressionist pictures, but there is also a collection of Old Master drawings and Italian primitive paintings, as well as works by the Bloomsbury Group, which were presented to the university by the art critic Roger Fry.
DULWICH COLLEGE PICTURE GALLERY
Housed in a building designed by the distinguished architect Sir John Soane in 1811, this is one of the most beautiful galleries in London. It is the oldest public picture gallery in England and displays works y Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin, Gainsborough and Reynolds.
Tattershall Castle, Victoria Embankment
This unique gallery is housed in a paddle steamer which was commissioned in 1934 and was used to ferry passengers across the River Humber in Yorkshire. It has been restored to its original appearance and displays temporary exhibitions by established, aspiring, and unknown artists.
The South Bank Complex
Opened in 1968, this purpose-built, ultra-modern building houses brilliantly-arranged temporary exhibitions which are put on by a the Arts Council.
INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ARTS
Nash House, 12 Carlton House Terrace
The institute fosters contemporary art of all kinds. Its exhibitions are open to the public and frequently display works of an obscure and controversial nature.
THE IVEAGH BEQUEST
Kenwood, Hampstead Lane
In 1764 the great architect Robert Adam was commissioned by the Earl of Mansfield to transform the house at Kenwood into a mansion. This he did and the building has remained largely unaltered since that time. It is a magnificent Classical-style structure set in beautiful grounds. Lord Iveagh, who purchased the mansion in 1925, together with his collection of paintings by Frans Hals, Vermeer, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Rembrandt.
LEIGHTON HOUSE ART GALLERY
Holland Park Road
Lord Leighton had this house specially built for himself in 1866. It has an exotic interior, complete with an Arab Hall decorated with ancient tiles from Rhodes, Damascus and Cairo. Leighton was one of the great artists of the Victorian era, and many of his paintings and sculptures are displayed here, along with works by Burne-Jones and other late 19th-century artists and craftsmen. Temporary exhibitions are held throughout the year in Winter Studio and Perrin Gallery.
THE QUEEN'S GALLERY
Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Road
Housed in a building which was originally designed as a conservatory by John Nash in 1831, the gallery displays a constantly changing collection of art treasures from the Royal Collection.
Chesterfield Walk, Blackheath
The Suffolk Collection of Jacobean and Stuart portraits is housed in this beautiful 17th-century mansion.
ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS
Burlington House, Piccadilly
George III founded the Royal Academy in 1768, and it was moved to Burlington House from the National Gallery in 1869. The famous Summer Exhibition is held here from May to August and promotes the works of living artists. The Academy owns a splendid collection of masterpieces by such artists as Michelangelo and Constable which is occasionally open to public view.
Monthly exhibitions of contemporary art are held here under the auspicies of the Arts Council.
THE THOMAS CORAM FOUNDATION FOR CHILDREN
40 Brunswick Square
The Foundation was formed in 1739 with the granting of a royal charter to Captain Thomas Coram to open a Foundling Hospital for destitute children. At the instigation of William Hogarth various works of art were presented to the Foundation for display in the Court Room to attract the public and raise funds. The present building, which was built in 1937 on the site of the old one, houses the vast number of exhibits which have been presented to the Foundation over the years. Of particular interest is the portrait of Coram, by Hogarth, which was the first gift.
THE WALLACE COLLECTION
Hertford House, Manchester Square
This superb collection of works of art is housed in an elegant 18th-century town house. The collection was founded by the 1st Marquis of Hertford, and was greatly enlarged by the 4th Marquis, who spent a lifetime amassing French works of art. Richard Wallace, natural son of the 4th Marquis, brought the collection to England in the second half of the 19th-century (it had previously been housed in Paris) and made further additions to it. Richard's widow presented the collection to the nation and it was opened to the public in 1900. The collection is world famous for its 18th-century paintings and furniture by French artists and craftsmen. Other paintings include The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals and works by Rubens, Holbein and Titian. An immense variety of armour, porcelain, clocks, miniatures and assorted bric-a-brac is also displayed.
WHITECHAPEL ART GALLERY
Whitechapel High Street
Opened to contribute to the cultural life of the East End, this gallery has achieved widespread fame for the excellence of its temporary exhibitions. The building has an ornate art Nouveau facade.
WILLIAM MORRIS GALLERY
Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow
Devoted to the life and work of the great Victorian artist-craftsman, poet and free thinker, William Morris, this gallery contains many designs and articles produced by the Morris Company. Also displayed is the Brangwyn collection of pictures. The artist Frank Brangwyn worked for Morris at one time, and presented the gallery with many of his own works as well as work by his contemporaries.
RETAIL GALLERIES AND AUCTION HOUSES
London is regarded as the art centre of the world, and quite apart from public art galleries it has a large number of retails galleries and auction houses where great (and not-so-great) works of art can be bought, sold or just seen. Most of the important galleries are in Mayfair, predominantly in the Old and New Bond Street, Cork Street and Duke Street areas, but many important galleries are to be found elsewhere. There are over 140 retail art galleries in the capital and listed here are the more important and more famous ones. They are classified here according to their specialities, though in most cases galleries exhibit a wide range of material. The public is welcome to view in all of them and most are open during usual office hours and on Saturday mornings, but many close on Saturdays during the summer.
THOS AGNEW & SONS LTD
43 Old Bond Street
Agnew's worldwide reputation is for stocking and exhibiting some of the finest Old Master paintings and drawing in London, ranging from the 14th to the 19th centuries. They also show some work by 20th-century and contemporary English watercolours and drawings.
P & D COLNAGHI & CO LTD
14 Old Bond Street
Colnaghi's established in 1760, is one of the oldest galleries in London. It deals mainly in Old Masters, particularly Italian, but also carries considerable stocks of drawings and prints, as well as specialising in Indian and Islamic art.
59 Jermyn Street
Specialising in 17th-and 18th-century French and Italian paintings. Heim's also deals in sculpture, ranging from Renaissance to 19th-century. Exhibitions are usually held two or three times a year.
WILDENSTEIN & CO LTD
147 New Bond Street
Wildenstein's was founded in 1875 as part of a world-wide organisation with galleries in Buenos Aires, New York and Tokyo. The gallery is renowned for its stock of French Masters as well as Italian primitives and other European schools of art. Wildenstein's also shows sculpture by Henry Moore and holds regular exhibitions of old and modern masters and sculpture.
18TH - & 19TH - CENTURY ART
FROST & REED LTD
41 New Bond Street
Founded in 1808, Frost & Reed specialise in 18th - and 19th -century British and Continental paintings and watercolours. In addition the gallery features work by selected 20th-century artists. There are a number of exhibitions throughout the year.
J S MASS & CO LTD
15a Clifford Street
Maas' gallery is particularly noted for works by Victorian artists, especially Pre-Raphaelites, in addition to English pictures from 1800 to 1920.
EARLY 20TH - CENTURY ART
9 Dering Street, New Bond Street
Between four and six exhibitions are held each year at the Anthony D'Offay gallery, which deals mainly in 20th-century British art and has a long list of artists in which it specialises.
THE FINE ART SOCIETY LTD
148 New Bond Street
Established in 1876, The Fine Art Society is one of the best places in London to see and buy 19th - and 20th- century British Art. In earlier days the society's name was associated with Whistler and Ruskin and it holds about 10 exhibitions a year.
THE LEFEVRE GALLERY
30 Bruton Street
The Lefevre Gallery specialises in important 198th - and 2oth - century European paintings and drawings and also exhibits work by contemporary British artists.
25 Cork Street
Exhibiting about once a month, Theo Waddington specialises in famous 20th-century artists, including Bonnard, Hayden, Matisse and Moore.
ANNELY JUDA FINE ART
11 Tottenham Mews (off Tottenham St)
In addition to contemporary English and foreign artists, Annely Juda specialises in the Russian Constructivism and Suprematism schools. Exhibitions are held monthly.
CHRISTIE'S CONTEMPORARY ART
8 Dover Street
This subsidiary of Christie's International specialises in contemporary etchings, lithographs and sculpture, and the work of over 50 artists is represented, including Moore, Frink, Piper and Hockney. Christie's Contemporary Art holds mixed exhibitions evry month.
MARLBOROUGH FINE ART LTD
6 Albermarle Street
Marlborough Fine Art specialises mainly in 19th - and 20th - century paintings, drawings and sculpture, particularly Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Cubists and Modern. The gallery is also noted for its exhibitions, held about once a month, of living artists and for the mixed exhibition held in July and August.
SPORTING ART AND NATURAL HISTORY ART
ARTHUR ACKERMANN & SON LTD
3 Old Bond Street
Established in 1783, Ackermann's played a leading role in the development of art printing techniques, particularly aquatint and lithography. The gallery was also responsible for the introduction of sporting, military and topographical art, especially in the form of works by Stubbs and Marshall. Today it specialises in British sporting art, fine paintings and old engravings, and holds exhibitions three or four times a year.
THE TRYON GALLERY LTD
41/42 Dover Street
One of the more famous natural history artists which the Tryon Gallery features is David Shepherd, and the gallery has about six exhibitions throughout the year.
CRAFTS AND JEWELLERY
CRAFTS ADVISORY COMMITTEE GALLERY
12 and 8 Waterloo Place
The revival of interest in age-old crafts and techniques has seen a rise all over Britain in the number of individual craftsmen producing hand-made pottery, textiles, furniture and other objects. A selection of contemporary British craft-work can be seen in London at the above galleries with continuously changing exhibitions of individuals' work.
21 South Molton Street
The Electrum Gallery aims to show the best contemporary jewellery from all over the world, and in addition to special exhibitions held about 10 times a year, the work of nearly 40 individual jewellery artists is on permanent display.
THE PHOTOGRAPHERS' GALLERY LTD
8 Great Newport Street
The Photographers' Gallery is a registered non-profit organisation funded by, amongst other, the Arts Council of Great Britain. As well as monthly exhibitions, the gallery aims to show the best of the many types of professional photography - from reportage and advertising to the purely creative.
ROBERT SELF LTD
9 Cork Street
The Robert Self Gallery specialises solely in early photographic work and its particular interest is in the first masters of photography for 1840 to 1880, though it prefers ot deal in pre-1860 photographs. The collection includes photographs by Cameron, Fox Talbot and Sutcliffe, as well as early cameras and Daguerreotypes.
FINE ART AUCTIONEERS
London has been an important art centre ever since the French Revolution, but particularly since the mid-1950's it has dominated the international art market, attracting experts in many different fields of specialisation from all over the world. The three big names in London are Sotheby's, Christie's and Phillips, all of which have international connections and hold sales all over the world. The public is admitted to previews and sales except on very rare occasions when admission is by ticket only, and all three auction houses welcome people bringing objects for free inspection and estimation of value.
CHRISTIE, MANSON & WOODS LTD
8 King Street
Founded in 1766, Christie's holds as many as three or four sales a day in its King Street salesrooms. Over 150,000 pictures, pieces of furniture, silver, porcelain, jewellery, books, arms and armour, and objets d'art are sold each year, two-thirds of them for less than £300. There are a number of specialist sales, and sales in the lower price range are held at Christie's South Kensington.
7 Blenheim Street (off New Bond Street)
Phillips was founded in 1796, and today up to 15 regular sales a week are held for antiques of all sorts and works of art. In addition there are a great number of specialist sales ranging from coins and stamps to musical instruments and suits of armour.
SOTHEBY, PARKE, BERNET & CO
34 New Bond Street
Sotheby's, founded 1744, has over the last few years seen some of the most important art sales over - Mentmore House, Wildenstein and the collection of Robert Von Hirsch (which in total realised a record £18.457,000) all fell under a Sotheby hammer. Apart from its London offices, Sotheby's has 36 other auction rooms, representative offices in 19 countries, and their overall turnover in 1977-78 was a staggering £162,500,000 - yet 62% of their sales went for less than £500. Sotheby's can claim a number of firsts which have become standard practice in many international auction houses, for instance the introduction of specialised sales, the use of closed-circuit television and TV satellite for transatlantic bidding, and the use of a computer to convert the bids instantly into six different currencies.
THE BRITISH MUSEUM
Behind the stern facade of the British Museum is the richest and most varied collection of treasures in the world. A detailed study of the items on display would take several lifetimes, and these are only a selection of the vast number of objects that the museum holds in its vaults and store rooms.
TREASURES OF THE NATION
The museum was founded in 1753 by an act of Parliament which set up a body of Trustees. Its nucleus was formed by the priceless collections of Sir Robert Cotton, whose manuscripts had been acquired at the end of the 17th century and stored a way in vaults at Westminster, and Sir Hans Sloane, who left his enormously varied collection to the nation upon his death in 1753. To this diverse collection of manuscripts, works of art, antiquities, and natural history items the Trustees added the extensive library accumulated by the Harleys, earls of Oxford, Subsequently the old Royal Library, which had been founded by Henry VII, was presented to the Trustees by George II and incorporated in the museum in 1757. With this library came the privilege of compulsory copyright, which means that a copy of every book published in the country has to be presented free to the museum.
The act of Parliament setting up the museum provided for a public lottery to be held to raise funds for housing and maintaining these collections. The lottery raised enough cash for the Trustees to purchase a 17th-century building called Montagu House and in 1759 the museum was opened to the public. Montagu House proved woefully inadequate for the museum's constantly expanding collections, and by the early 19th century temporary buildings had been erected to accommodate many of the larger exhibits.
In 1823 Sir Robert Smirke was commissioned to design a permanent extension and produced plans for the complete replacement of Montagu House. Between 1823 and 1852 the old structure was pulled down and the present museum took its place. In 1857 the famous domed Reading Room was built in what had been the interior courtyard. Later additions to the structure included the King Edward VII Building and a gallery presented by Lord Duveen to house the sculptures of the Parthenon. The natural history collection was transferred to South Kensington in 1881, and the ethnographical collection to the new Museum of Mankind in 1970.
It is impossible to list here more than a tiny fraction of the wealth of objects that the museum contains. Visitors are advised to equip themselves with a guide book and select a number of specific exhibits that can be comfortably looked at in the time available.
The superb Elgin Marbles are housed in the Duveen Gallery and should not be missed. The collection is named after the seventh Earl of Elgin, who sold it to the nation at a considerable loss. It includes brilliantly executed statues, friezes and stonework from temples and other buildings in Athens.
In the centre of the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery is the Rosetta Stone, which dates from 195 BC and is inscribed with the texts which enabled scholars to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Grenville Library and the Manuscript Saloon contain some of the museum's most famous treasures, including two of the four existing original copies of the Magna Carta, William Shakespeare's signature, and Nelson's sketch plan of the Battle of Trafalgar.
On the upper floor is the Mildenhall Treasure, a collection of 4th-century silver discovered in a ploughed field in Suffolk in 1942, and the beautiful 7th-century Sutton Hoo Treasure, also discovered in Suffolk. Also on the upper floor are the Egyptian mummies, the exquisite 12th-century Lewis Chessmen, and part of the museum's vast collection of coins and medals.
THE EXHIBITION ROAD MUSEUMS
The tremendous collection of museums that stand on or near Exhibition Road owe their existence to the energy and enthusiasm of Prince Albert, Consort to Queen Victoria. It was his tireless persistence that resulted in the Great Exhibition being opened in Hyde Park in 1851. It was an unqualified success, and the Prince proposed that the profits made from it should be used to purchase land on which would be built an array of educational establishments. In 1856 the Gore Estate, on which the museums now stand, was purchased and building work, which continues to the present day, began.
THE VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM
This is the national museum of fine and applied art, and covers all countries, periods and styles. It is a vast box of delights, with exhibits ranging from great works of art to items whose function is simply to entertain and amuse.
A LEGACY OF THE EXHIBITION
In 1857 the museum was moved to its present site, having been founded at Marlborough House after the Great Exhibition as the Museum of Manufactures, and its name was changed to the South Kensington Museum. An avalanche of new exhibits, gifts and bequests rapidly pushed the museum far beyond its original theme, and it became apparent that a reorganisation was required and that larger premises would have to be built. A competition for the design of additional buildings facing Cromwell Road and Exhibition Road was held in 1891 and won by the distinguished architect Sir Aston Webb. The foundation stone was laid by Queen Victoria in 1899 and the museum re-opened in 1909 as the Victoria and Albert.
The museum has a maze-like interior with approximately seven miles of galleries. Excellent guide books can be purchased in the museum, and visitors are advised to work out their route, and the galleries to be seen, before they begin their explorations.
There are two types of galleries: the primary ones, which display a variety of exhibits giving a comprehensive picture of a period or civilisation; and subject galleries, which contain the specialised collections.
In the primary British galleries, on the upper ground and upper first floors, there is a series of rooms decorated and equipped with paintings, furniture and household accessories of particular periods. Amongst the exhibits on display are the enormous 16th-century Great Bed of Ware, an exquisite portrait miniature by Nicholas Hilliard called Young Man leaning against a Tree, and furniture by Chippendale. There are also primary galleries devoted to Continental arts and crafts, medieval gothic and renaissance art, Oriental art, and Islamic arts and crafts.
The subject galleries on the ground floor take in English and Continental sculpture, architecture and costumes. The costumes, mostly English and dating from the 16th to 20tcenturies, are displayed in the Octagon Court.
On the first floor are subject galleries covering ironwork, textiles, prints, drawings and paintings. John Constable's brilliant evocations of the English landscape are the outstanding works of the painting galleries.
THE SCIENCE MUSEUM
The collections in the Science Museum cover the application of science to technology and the development of engineering and industry from their beginnings to the present day. Of all London museums this is the one most loved by children and their fathers. There are knobs to press, handles to turn, and all sorts of exhibits that variously light up, rotate and make noises.
Housed in a handsome building that was completed in 1928 and added to in 1963, the collections originally formed part of the old South Kensington Museum.
In the main entrance hall is the Foucault Pendulum, the gentle movement of which visibly demonstrates the rotation of the earth on its own axis. The lower ground floor contains exhibits illustrating the development of lighting and mining, and includes a reconstruction of a modern coal mine. Here also is the delightful Children's Gallery, which provides an introduction to scientific ideas through the medium of dioramas and working models.
The ground floor galleries explain the development of motive power and contain most of the museum's larger exhibits, including an 18th-century atmospheric beam engine from a colliery in Derbyshire.
Gallery 6 houses an exhibition on exploration which is due to run until the end of 1980. All aspects of exploration are covered and exhibits include the Apollo 10 Space Capsule and a simulated moon base. The huge new wing of the ground floor is devoted to road and rail transport. Here may be seen Puffing Billy, the world's first locomotive, and George Stephenson's Rocket.
On the first, second and third floors there are galleries dealing with astronomy, printing, chemistry, nuclear physics, navigation, photography, electricity, magnetism and communications, etc. The exhibits range from a superb collection of model ships to the first television transmitter.
THE GEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
This is the national museum of earth sciences. It illustrates the general principles of geological science together with earth history, the regional geology of Britain and the economic geology and minerology of the world. It is most famous for its stunningly beautiful collection of gem stones.
THE ORIGINS OF THE MUSEUM
Established in 1837 as a direct result of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, the museum originally occupied a house in Whitehall, to which specimens collected during the survey were taken for inspection. In 1851 the collection was moved to new premises in Jermyn Street, and in 1935 - the centenary of the Geological Survey - the collection was moved into its present building.
The main hall contains exhibitions entitled The Story of the Earth and Britain before Man. Also on the ground floor are the precious and ornamental stones, shown in their floor galleries five a detailed regional geology of Britain, and the second floor is devoted to economic geology and contains the largest display of metalliferous ores and useful non-metallic ores in the world.
THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
The collections of the Natural History Museum are divided into five departments covering botany, entomology, minerology, palaeontology and zoology.
FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS
The museum's collections were built up round the specimens collected by Sir Hans Sloane. These formed a part of the nucleus of the British Museum, which was founded in 1753. Later additions to the museum included the large botanical collection bequethed by Sir Joseph Banks in 1820. By 1860, the continued expansion of the collections in the British Museum meant that a separate natural history museum was required. The necessary land was available at Kensington, but it was not until 1881 that the new museum - officially called the British Museum (Natural History) was opened.
Covering a total of four acres, the museum is housed in a vast and elaborate 19th-century Romanesque-style building faced with terracotta slabs bearing animals , birds and fishes moulded in relief.
The central hall houses stuffed examples of the larger mammals, including an African elephant over 11 feet tall. Also on display, by way of contrast, is one of the tiniest mammals. a white-toothed shrew from Spain. Bays on either side of the hall illustrate the principles of evolution of man.
The west wing houses galleries devoted to birds, corals and sponges, insects (including butterflies), starfish and fish. Also in the west wing are the Hall of Human Biology and the Whale Hall, which has models or skeletons of many types of whale suspended from its ceiling. An extensive and zoologically-arranged fossil collection is located in the east wing. It is here that the dinosaurs will be found.
On the first floor is the Mammal Gallery, where many rare species may be seen, and the Mineral Gallery. The second floor contains the Botanical Gallery and has beautifully-make dioramas which illustrate many different types of habitat and landscape.
THE PERFORMING ARTS
London, one of the greatest cultural centres of the world, provides a kaleidoscope of live art of unrivalled variety and quality. Internationally stars of ballet, drama, opera and music have long been drawn to the footlights of London's theatres. The selection here is only a sample of the many venues where classical, traditional, contemporary and experimental performances may be enjoyed.
St Martin's Lane
This theatre was formerly known as the New Theatre and was renamed in 1973 as a tribute to the late Sir Bronson Albery who presided over its fortunes for many years. The present manager is Donald Albery (son of Sir Bronson) who also controls the Criterion, the Piccadilly and Wyndham's.
This theatre became famous between the wars as the venue of Ben Travers' hilarious 'Aldwych' farces starring Ralph Lynn and Tom Walls. Today it is the London headquarters of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The Cambridge opened in 1930 and thus qualifies as one of London's youngest theatres. The opening night was a glittering occasion and the theatre was acclaimed as the most beautiful in London. Lon-running popular shows including pantomimes, operas and musicals have been the trademark of the Cambridge. The recent trend for rock musicals has not passed it by either, the most successful production being Jesus Christ Superstar.
DRURY LANE, THEATRE ROYAL
The Theatre Royal is situated on one of the oldest theatre sites in London. The first building, dating from 1663, was destroyed by fire and replaced by one designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Here David Garrick produced plays a starring John Kemble and Mrs Siddons. A third building opened 1794 under the management of Richard Sheridan, but this too was burnt down. The present theatre is the largest in London, with sumptuous furnishings, a portico and Ionic colonnade at the rear, and numerous monuments to former exponents of the dramatic art, such as Edmund Kean and David Garrick. Henry Irving, Ellen Terry and Forbes Robertson are among those who have played in the present theatre, and more recently it has become the venue of many successful musicals such as Oklahoma, Carousel,y Fair Lady and A Chorus Line.
Founded by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, this pavilioned theatre is crowned by a Baroque copper dome. Sir Herbert, one of the first actors to be knighted, was also founder of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). He retained the management of Her Majesty's until his death in 1917.
The National Theatre is part of the South Bank Arts Centre and was opened in 1976. The building in fact houses three theatres: the Olivier, which is open-staged and was named after Lord Olivier, who was the first director of the National Theatre Company (the present director is Sir Peter Hall); the smaller Lyttleton; and the even smaller Cottesloe, which specialises in experimental productions.
The National Theatre has in the very few years that it has been in operation, won for itself a high reputation, both for the quality of its productions and for the enthusiasm with which it encourages new playwrights, as well as staging works by more established writers such as Harold Pinter.
ROYAL ALBERT HALL
Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of the building named after her beloved Prince Albert in 1867., and it was subsequently opened to the public in 1871. The huge circular was is composed of red brick, adorned with terracotta and a mosaic frieze illustrating Triumphs of Art and Science, and is surmounted by a huge glass dome. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 5,600 and contains one of the world's largest organs, made by 'Father' Willis. Though the Albert Hall is particularly famous for the Sir Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, performed daily between mid-July and mid-September and entailing the services of some 15 orchestras, 30 conductors, and almost 200 soloists or singers, it is also the venue of concerts ranging from classical to pop throughout the year.
JEANNETTA COCHRANE THEATRE
Opened in 1963, the theatre is housed in an extension to the Central School of Art and Design and is named in honour of Jeannetta Cochrane, who taught at the school from 1914 to 1957. There are occasional productions by students of experimental plays as well as a number of productions for children.
KINGS HEAD THEATRE CLUB
Upper Street, Islington
Set in the village atmosphere of Islington, the Kings Head pub houses London's first pub theatre. Now established as one of the city's best fringe theatres, plays are performed at lunchtimes as well as in the evenings.
THE LONDON COLISEUM
St Martin's Lane
The Coliseum was built in 1904, and was at first used primarily as a music hall. It is easily identified by the giant electrical globe on the roof which twinkles int the sky each evening. One of the largest theatres in London, it was the first to install a revolving stage, and Sarah Bernhardt, Lillie Langtry and Ellen Terry have all trodden its boards. Since 1968 the Coliseum has been the home of the English National Opera Company (formerly at Sadler's Wells).
THE LONDON PALLADIUM
This famous music hall opened on Boxing Day 1910 with a variety bill featuring Nellie Wallace, Ella Shields and Ella Retford. At that time such shows included farce, melo-drama and operatic scenes. Such 'variety' , however, was not to last forever, and in 1912 spectacular revues took over. Christmas entertainment has always been a speciality here and Peter pan held pride of place for eight years. The famous Crazy Gang Shows then enjoyed permanent residency until after the War. In 1946 the Palladium returned to a policy of top-name variety and great stars such as Judy Garland, Danny Kaye and Frank Sinatra have been among those to appear here.
THE OLD VIC
Also known as the Royal Victoria Hall, this theatre was built during the early 19th-century. It was noted for lurid melodramas until 1880 when Emma Cons acquired the premises and made them the home of classical plays and opera - a tradition which was carried on by her niece Lilian Baylis. For many years famous for its Shakespearean productions, the Old Vic was the headquarters of the National Theatre Company until it transferred to the South bank in 1976.
OPEN AIR THEATRE
Queen Mary's Gardens, Regent's Park
This theatre has been in operation since 1932, braving the rigours of the British climate with the aid of a wet-weather marquee to stage summer performances of Shakespeare. The present auditorium was constructed in 1975, and the wooded surroundings provide an ideal setting for such plays as A Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It.
Chalk Farm Road
A massive engine-turning shed, designed by Robert Stephenson and built in 1847, was converted in 1967 into the Round House, an arts centre with a theatre, cinema, library and art gallery. The theatre proved to be an ideal place for experimental performances, and the Round House has now become very popular for the staging of new works and unconventional productions of established plays.
Ever since its opening in 1870 the Royal Court has specialised in innovative plays. The farces of Arthur Pinero were performed here in the 1890's, followed by premiere performances of some of the plays of George Bernard Shaw (whose bust stands in the foyer) in the early years of the 20th-century, when the theatre was under the management of the playwright, actor and critic Harley Granville-Barker. Some of Somerset Maughams' early work was first produced here, and probably the most famous and controversial of recent avant-garde plays, the English Stage Company's production of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, ran here in 1956. The Royal Court still maintains its reputation as a pioneer of the London theatre, and since 1969 the small Theatre Upstairs, above the main auditorium, has specialised in particularly new and experimental work.
ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL
This was the only permanent building erected for the 1951 Festival of Britain. The designers, LCC architects Sir Leslie Martin and Sir Robert Matthew, were concerned first and foremost with acoustics and visibility. The result is one of the most successful examples of modern architecture in London, providing comfortable seating for 3,000 people, spacious foyers, fine river views (the frontage was enlarged in 1962-1965), and a platform which can accommodate a choir of 250. The hall has been completely insulated against noise fro nearby Waterloo Station. The complex was completed when , in 1967, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room were built. They seat 1,1000 and 400 people respectively.
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE
The present building had two predecessors, the second one being the scene of the famous Old Price Riots - the public's protestations against the sharp increase in the cost of seats. The theatre officially opened as an opera house in 1847 and opera has flourished here ever since, achieving its greatest peaks between 1859 and 1939 when it was the leading entertainment of 'society'. Productions today are most lavish and still attract a great following who came to see and hear the very best names in the world of opera. Thomas Beecham brought ballet to the theatre in 1911 and it became the headquarters of the Royal Ballet Company.
The well or natural spring, discovered by Mr Sadler in 16873 and developed as a spa, is still preserved within the theatre. The theatre was noted for its Shakespearean productions during the mid-19th-century and for the performances of Joe Grimaldi, the famous clown, a few years earlier. The threatened extinction of the theatre was avoided by the campaigning of theatrical manager Lilian Baylis who was instrumental in getting the building renovated and re-opened in 1931. Sadler's Wells then acquired fame as a ballet and operatic centre and it was here that the Royal Balley first achieved world-wide status under the guidance of ballerina and artistic director Ninette de Valois.
This theatre, now incorporated in the famous Savoy Hotel, was commissioned by the great D'Oyly Carte and it was here that his productions of Gilbert and Sullivan's popular operettas were staged between 1881 and 1889. The Savoy Theatre was the first public building to be lit by electricity.
Opened in 1971, the Shaw Theatre is the permanent home of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and its professional offshoot, The Dolphin Theatre Company. The Shaw Theatre aims to provide good theatre at prices young people can afford, and there are special reductions for students and people under 21. The Dolphin Theatre Company concentrates mainly on productions of the classics, both traditional and modern, with new plays from time to time.
This building designed by John Nash and opened in 1821, has regal columns which extend across the pavement, lending the theatre an imposing appearance. The interior is cool and elegant in royal blue, white and gold. Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree played here from 1887 to 1897 and Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband was first performed here in 1895.
Great Windmill Street
Standing on the site of an old windmill, the theatre earned its 'We never close' slogan by operating throughout the London Blitz under the management of Vivian Van Damm. The shows were renowned for their risque flavour and this tradition continues today. Many famous actors began their careers at the Windmill and remember the war years with affection.