★★★Tate Britain

★Name of gallery: Tate Britain


Tate Britain is a gallery located in London, named after Sir Henry Tate who was the founder, it was originally called the ‘National Gallery of British Art’ but was renamed ‘Tate Britain’ in March 2000 before the launch of Tate Modern. The gallery was opened on 21st July 1897, dedicated to the display of historical and comtemporary British art. It includes the Clore Gallery of 1987, designed by James Stirling, which houses work by J.M.W. Turner.

Tate Britain is one of the family of four Tate galleries which has display selections from the Tate collection. Others include Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives.


The gallery has rooms dedicated to works by one artist, examples include: Tracey Emin, John Latham, Douglas Gordon, Sam Taylor-Wood, Marcus Gheeraerts II, though these, like the rest of the collection, are subject to rotation.

Tate Britain is the world centre for the understanding and enjoyment of British art and works actively to promote interest in British art internationally. The displays at Tate Britain call on the greatest collection of British art in the world to present an unrivalled picture of the development of art in Britain from the time of the Tudor monarchs in the sixteenth century, to the present day.


★My visit

My visit to this gallery was a pleasant experience, there were a wide range displays of work which really helped to visualise the styles and concepts artistes embraced; both in historical and contemporary British art.

The gallery itself consists of many rooms full of works/displays either dedicated to one artist or combined with several who had similar styles. I visited this gallery in attempt to initiate ideas for the first project ‘The Map & the Territory’. As the idea of the project is to create a map which defines us as a new student at the University of Greenwich, also to display our ‘practice’, I hoped that this visit would help generate ideas.

The atmosphere was very peaceful which would be an apsect present in any gallery with respect for the brilliance of the artwork put forth. The artwork took many forms, such includes sculptures, paintings, collage, photography and many more. There were some pieces of work which I found bizarre and hope to explore the reasons behind further through research. Luckily, visitors were allowed to take picrures of the artwork which was very fortunate!


★Images of the artwork

  • Bob & Roberta Smith born 1963
  • When Donald Judd Comes to our Place…1997
  • Paint on board

When I first looked at this painting, I thought it was printed as the letters look very neat and precise. I find it strange that the composition of the letters look tightly packed together, as though constrained to the board leaving hardly any white space at the edges of the canvas; giving a sense of ‘claustrophobia’. I wonder why the artist has cut off some words, deliberately making the view read it in a certain way. Another strange aspect are the coloured letters which singles them out from the orange coloured letters. The spacing also looks irregular but I assume it is what makes this piece quirky.


  • Damien Hirst born 1965
  • Anthraquinone-1 Diazonium Chloride
  • 1994
  • Gloss paint in canvas

A series of coloured dots by Damien Hirst, an English artist, entrepreneur and art collector. He is the most prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists. He has also made “spin paintings,” created on a spinning circular surface, and “spot paintings”, which are rows of randomly coloured circles created by his assistants.

The dots are very evenly spaced and fill up the whole canvas, although I expected some kind of pattern to this painting, it seems like random dots, nonetheless, it is a very aesthically pleasing piece. Although I like the fact that it is named after a chemical belonging to the MP Biomedicals Rare Chemical library.


  • ‘I Love King’s Cross and King’s Cross Loves Me,’
  •  08, 2002-07
    4 found dollies, acrylic sheet, enamel paint (2002)
  • 2 found dollies, acrylic sheet, enamel paint (2007)

David Batchelor is fascinated by the way our experience of colour has been transformed by the modern city. ‘Most of the colour we see now is chemical or electrical; it is plastic or metallic; it is flat, shiny, iridescent, glowing or flashing (or it is broken, switched off and as if it was never there).’ In this work, originally commissioned by Tate Britain, he explores the ‘vivid and impure colours associated with cosmetics and commerce.’

Batchelor’s main interest is in colour as we experience it in the city, artificial and industrial. Since the early 1990s, his free-standing works have combined the monochrome with the readymade. Much of this work is shaped by accident. His wheel-mounted monochromes, using dollies found around Kings Cross where he lives, came from his search for a ramshackle, ready-made support for intense colour. He had an old flat-bed trolley in his studio which he used to dry a panel of painted acrylic on ‘and it sort of fitted.’ What attracted him to their form ‘was partly their absurdity.

I was attracted by this as the boards are colourful and eyecatching, the wheels makes it appear like some kind of skateboard, I was tempted to try one out!


  • Rachel Whiteread born 1963
  • ‘Untitled (Black bath]’ 1996
  • Pigmented Urethane sculpture

I like this sculpture as you will not find a bath placed outside a bathroom! The material is smooth and matte, although I don’t think many people will be able to fit inside.


  • Keith Coventry born 1958
  • ‘East Street Estate’ 1994
  • Oil on canvas, painted wood and glass

At first sight Keith Coventry’s series of Estate Paintings resemble the Suprematist abstract art of early twentieth century Russian painters such as Malevich and Rodchenko. Yet these flat geometric patterns are taken directly from standard boards at the entrances to council estates showing the location of each housing block on a simplified plan.

Coventry draws a parallel between the Modernist drive towards pure form and the failure of post-war planning to live up to its utopian ambitions. He has painted over a hundred different configurations.

This piece reminds me of ‘The Flaneur’ a character in Paul Auster’s book ‘City of glass’ where Quinn figures that Stillman is purposely creating letters/shapes as he is being observed.


  • Patrick Caulfield 1936-2005
  • After Lunch 1975
  • Acrylic on canvas

Restaurant interiors are a subject Caulfield has treated often. Within the general interest his work shows in social customs and taste, the recurrence of the restaurant theme is connected with his longstanding preoccupation with formalizing the elements in nature.

In ‘After Lunch’ as in many of his recent works, he made the element which is depicted as ‘closest’ to the viewer the same size as it would be if the viewer was part of the scene in real life. This increases the picture’s illusionistic aspect, which other details contradict. The type of chair seen in ‘After Lunch’ might be uncomfortable in a restaurant, but Caulfield chose it because it could be seen through and thus would not dominate the foreground. A further motive, to which this contributed, was the wish to create as complicated a space as possible.


  • Helen Chadwick 1953-1996
  • Enfleshings l 1989
  • Photographic transparency and light box

Large, rectangular cibachrome transparencies, sandwiched between glass sheets, mounted on the wall and back-lit by fluorescent strip lights. Four brass fixings, visible on the front of each, hold the layers in place.

I didn’t know this was a close up of raw meat until I saw the description, I was just focused on the light bulb to notice. It is a made me feel a little queasy.


  • Keith Arnatt 1930-2008
  • Potrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self 1969-72
  • Photograph on paper

This photograph seems mysterious, as I want to know who the shadow belongs to.


  • Frank Dobson 1888-1963
  • Sir Osbert Sitwell, Bt 1923

Frank Dobson was a sculptor and painter associated with the post-Impressionist and, briefly, Vorticist movements in Britain. In 1921 he met Osbert Sitwell (1892-1969), an establishment figure and writer of short stories, travel books, essays, poetry and art criticism, who sat for him for three months. During one of the sittings, Sitwell met T.E. Lawrence, known as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, who bought the bust and later bequeathed it to the Tate. Lawrence described it as ‘appropriate, authentic and magnificent, in my eyes. I think it’s his finest piece of portraiture and in addition it’s as loud as the massed bands of the Guards.’

This sculpture reminds me of an oscar award, it is very shiny and beautiful.


  • Richard Hamilton 1922-2011
  • Interior with monochromes 1979
  • Lithograph and screenprint on paper

Interior with monochromes is a print made from a collage, showing a deconstructed view of an interior. On a sheet of white paper, Hamilton lined up three black and white photographs of sections of different rooms so that the line where the wall meets the ceiling is continuous from one crop to the next. The photographs take the spectator’s eye from floor to ceiling in three shots. As we have previously done collages during a lesson in Graphic Design Principles, this piece seemed very influential, I like the way the composition of the pictures.


★Ratings & comments

I enjoyed this visit as I have seen many fascinating artwork which has broadened my perception of British art. The work I have reviewed above are just a few of the many, I would highly recommend paying a visit; there is so much to be discovered and I hope to come back one day.

How much I liked the gallery: 4/5

Range of artwork: 5/5

Interest: 4.5/5



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