In this affluent area surrounding Pall Mall there are plenty of places to examine masterpieces from throughout the ages. Whether you’re into Tudor portraiture or contemporary sculpture, you’re bound to find something inspiring. Here’s our pick of the area’s top galleries.
Art Gallery, Museum
Terry Adkins, Solitude, 2017. Installation view | Photo: Luke A. Walker
Before the gallery opened in 2004 Thomas Dane had been working behind the scenes, supporting artists and advising clients. The inaugural exhibition featured work by acclaimed artist and director Steve McQueen, cementing the gallery as an important trendsetter when it came to emerging artists, with particular interests in film-based practices. It has also collaborated with the Art Fund to help place video works in museum collections throughout the UK.
Founded by Chris Beetles in 1975, this gallery focuses on paintings and sculpture from the 18th, 19th and 20th century including watercolours, sculpture and cartoons. It holds an incredible selection of original pieces from the likes of E H Shepard and Ronald Searle. Every November the gallery hosts ‘The Illustrators’ exhibition, featuring over 1,000 works for sale.
Infamous art collector Jay Jopling was an instrumental force in the YBA’s stratospheric rise to fame, and opened his first gallery in a tiny space on Duke Street. The small proportions dictated a succinct curatorial strategy, where artists were invited to present one single work. Since then White Cube has gone on to be one of the most globally recognised commercial galleries in the world, with two branches in London as well as Hong Kong. The Mason’s Yard gallery was opened in 2006, just around the corner from the original gallery. The slick, freestanding block inhabits the middle of this historic London square, taking the place of an old electricity sub-station. It presents shows from White Cube’s exceptional roster of artists, including Theaster Gates, Gilbert and George, and Sam Taylor-Johnson.
As the leading authority on Auguste Rodin and a specialist dealer in sculpture from 1860 to the present day, Robert Bowman has made his gallery the number one destination for sculpture history. The space regularly holds solo shows of European masters, as well as key players in the most significant art movements from the 20th century; including Impressionism, Cubism, and Modernism, as well as showcasing more contemporary artists such as Lynn Chadwick and Elizabeth Frink.
Matisse exhibition installation at Bernard Jacobson | Courtesy of Bernard Jacobson
In 2015, Bernard Jacobson opened on Duke Street, after over 20 years of work in the art business. The gallery began by publishing and distributing prints by famous artists such as Lucian Freud, David Hockney and Leon Kossoff. Although that remains central to the business, the gallery now exhibits all manner of painting, sculpture and other media, particularly modern masters such as Ben Nicholson and Kurt Schwitters.
Anna Maria Rossi founded her gallery in 1985, specialising in antique works in the field of Indian, Himalayan and South East Asian Art. Both her and her son (who joined in 1988) have collaborated with major international museums in order to acquire important works and the London gallery (there are now several branches) hosts classical and contemporary viewings by appointment.
Ian Davenport, Melismatic at Alan Cristea Gallery 2017 | Photo courtesy Alan Cristea
Having recently moved to a larger, bespoke premises on Pall Mall, Alan Cristea has continued to build on the legacy of its founder, presenting large-scale exhibitions and commissioning contemporary prints and editions. The gallery represents well-established contemporary artists such as Michael Craig-Martin, Ian Davenport, Idris Khan and Cornelia Parker, as well as modern artist estates such as Anni and Josef Albers, and Richard Hamilton.
Colnaghi is one of the oldest commercial galleries in the world. It was opened in 1783 by Paul Colnaghi, whose astute business mind saw him recognised by the city’s elite as a dealer of fantastic knowledge and taste. This lead him to gain patronage from the Prince Regent and strike up a close friendship with John Constable. The firm has since gone through several different ownerships but it still maintains a commitment to scholarship and shows an incredible variety of historic works, including Old Masters, German Renaissance and Dutch Golden Age paintings.
As one of the country’s leading portrait experts Philip Mould has has uncovered lost works by Van Dyck and Gainsborough, he is also a former art adviser to the Palace of Westminster and is a well-known broadcaster. His gallery on Pall Mall houses treasures of British art and Old Masters, covering everything from delicate miniatures to Tudor court painting.
Installation view of 'Rosmarie Trockel: Knitted Works' at Skarstedt, London | Courtesy of Skarstedt
Skarstedt began life in New York back in 1994, but has recently opened a second London-based space on the corner of Arlington Street and Bennet Street. It shares the same curatorial strategy as its American counterpart, showcasing solo exhibitions as well as thematic group shows such as ‘Double Take’; which explored how modern and contemporary artists have used mass media imagery to question sexuality and gender, throughout three interconnected galleries.