The Tate Britain houses arguably the finest displays of British art throughout the world. Situated on the site of a former prison, it was initially founded in 1897 and was known as The National Gallery of British Art. In 1932, it was renamed The Tate Gallery after the industrialist Henry Tate, who donated his personal collection of artwork to the gallery. The Tate Britain today holds a magnificent collection of British art dating from 1500.
The Tate Britain has an outstanding collection of paintings by Gainsborough, John Constable, Whistler and Hogarth, as well as important contemporary artists such as David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. It houses the largest display of pieces by J. M. W. Turner anywhere throughout the world.
The main floor houses a collection known as A Walk Through British Art, a chronological display of Britain’s most talented artists, arranged by decade. The earliest paintings date from around 1540 and comprise mainly of portraits or religious themes. The mid-18th-century collection includes the iconic self-portrait by William Hogarth, founder of the British school of painting. Later pieces from the 20th century reveal not only traditional subjects, but more modern themes including daring sculptures.
The Turner Collection
J. M. W. Turner, known for his landscapes and marine paintings, is the most celebrated artist in Britain, and this collection displays some of his most famous works. Housed in the Clore Gallery, the masterpieces include Self-Portrait, Norham Castle Sunrise and Peace- Burial At Sea. Turner had a fascination with the sea, and much of his artwork in this collection reflects his interest in all things maritime,
The Tate Britain not only holds a static display of British art, but also hosts an ever changing programme of unique exhibitions and events, showcasing paintings, poetry, sculpture, movies, music and even dining.