Guildhall Art Gallery

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Guildhall Art Gallery

Coordinates: 51°30′56″N 0°05′29″W / 51.5155°N 0.0914°W / 51.5155; -0.0914 The Guildhall Art Gallery houses the art collection of the City of London, England. The museum is located in the Moorgate area of the City of London. It is a stone building in a semi-Gothic style intended to be sympathetic to the historic Guildhall, which is adjacent and to which it is connected internally.


The City of London Corporation had commissioned and collected portraits since 1670, originally to hang in the Guildhall. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Corporation's art collections grew through gifts and bequests to include history paintings and other genres of art.[1]

The first purpose-built gallery for displaying the collection was completed in 1885 (138 years ago) (1885). This building was destroyed in The Blitz in 1941, resulting in the loss of 164 paintings, drawings, watercolours, and prints, and 20 sculptures.[2] It was not until 1985 that the City of London Corporation decided to redevelop the site and build a new gallery. The building was designed in a postmodern style by the British architect Richard Gilbert Scott.[3] The new facility, which was intended to house a collection of about 4,000 items, was completed in 1999 (24 years ago) (1999).[4]

The centrepiece of the collection, John Singleton Copley's huge painting depicting The Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar, was placed in a prominent position in the entrance hall of the gallery.[5]

Vivien Knight was head of the Gallery, from 1983 until her death in 2009.[6]


The Roman amphitheatre below the Guildhall Art Gallery

The Guildhall complex was built on the site of London's Roman amphitheatre, and some of the remains of this are displayed in situ in a room in the basement of the art gallery.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Collections History". City of London. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  2. ^ "History of Guildhall Art Gallery". Guildhall Art Gallery. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Richard Gilbert Scott obituary". The Guardian. 12 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  4. ^ "London's Guildhall reveals hidden gems among collection of 4,000 paintings". The Guardian. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  5. ^ "The Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar, September 1782". Art.UK. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  6. ^ Rose, Andrea. "Knight, Vivien Margaret (1953–2009)". ONDB. OUP. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  7. ^ "London's Roman Amphitheatre – Guildhall Galleries – City of London". Retrieved 18 June 2017.

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