Good news for art lovers. The Dulwich Picture Gallery has re-opened to the public. This much loved and respected venue houses one of the finest collections of Old Masters in the world, including by Rembrandt, Canaletto, Poussin, Constable and Gainsborough.
The collection has its roots in the early 17th century when Edward Alleyn, a favourite actor of Queen Elizabeth I, purchased the Manor of Dulwich. Alleyn went on to found what later became Dulwich College, and during his lifetime, acquired a number of hangings and paintings that he left to the College on his death. Twenty-six of these artworks survive and are still in the gallery’s collection today. More bequests and acquisitions followed over the centuries and in 1817, the gallery opened to the public.
The gallery’s founders are buried on-site in Sir John Soane’s mausoleum. In addition, there are beautiful gardens to walk in with some key specimen trees including a Kentucky coffee tree, black mulberry and a golden Indian bean tree.
More than 600 artworks are housed in the collection, supplemented by a rolling programme of visiting exhibitions and events. Kicking off the re-opening is ‘Unearthed: Photography’s Roots’. This is Dulwich Picture Gallery’s first major photographic exhibition and traces the development of the art from the 1840s to the present day through an enthralling depiction of plants and botany from some of the leading exponents. Follow the journey of innovation from photography pioneer William Fox Talbot to a contemporary installation by fine art photographer, Ori Gersht. ‘On Reflection’ re-imagines a still life painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder and has never before been on show in the UK.
Relax and reflect afterwards in the gallery’s café, where you can eat outside in the summer months. There is also a gift shop to browse.
‘Photograpy’s Roots’ runs until 30 August and pre-booking is essential. Tickets give full access to all collections and displays. Entry is free to Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery. Details, booking arrangements and current opening hours are available at: https://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk