The National Gallery

The National Gallery

Join me on a tour of great master pieces by some of the greatest painters who have ever lived.  Hear about Van Gogh, Caravaggio, Holbein and Tuner. 

The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square in the centre of London is  home to the nations great collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the 13th century to the 20th century.

The collection that is the foundation of the National Gallery came from a banker and collector by the name of John  Julius Angerstein. In 1823 the government bought the collection of 38 paintings for £57,000 and in 1824 the National Gallery opened its doors to the public, for free.

During the Second World War in the 1940s the entire collection was evacuated to a quarry in Wales. There was even talk about sending them to Canada, something that Prime Minster Churchill was totally opposed. He wrote in a telegram to the director of the National Gallery at the time , “bury them in caves or in cellars, but not a picture shall leave these islands

However the people if London missed its paintings and soon a scheme was put in place. ‘The Painting of the Month’. Each month a new painting would come home to London and be displayed to the enjoyment of Londoners. An art critic at the time wrote that the National Gallery was  “a defiant outpost of culture right in the middle of a bombed and shattered metropolis”

In 1945 when war ended all the paintings came back home to London.

A guided tour at the National Gallery will paint a picture of the artists behind some of the greatest paintings in the world. The collection is stunning and so worth a visit.

Entry to the National Gallery is free.