InKensington takes a look at the art galleries in and around Kensington and Chelsea. Here we look at community galleries displaying local art, to private galleries showing off world-renowned art, art school galleries displaying student creations, as well as art galleries in the parks around the area. Residents of K&C have much to discover!
Most galleries in the borough have free admission, although some have minimal fees or fees for special exhibits and events. It’s always the best protocol to check the official websites prior to visiting. Most of the galleries also make their venues available for patrons wishing to privately hire the space. Whether you’re celebrating an engagement or perhaps organising networking drinks, an art gallery in Kensington and Chelsea would make a beautiful backdrop to your evening soirée.
The Chelsea Gallery is a council-run art gallery in the Chelsea Old Town Hall on the King’s Road. The gallery is intended for both amateur and professional artists to display their collections for the public. This is also a great place for collectors to check out, as many of these works are for sale!
The Ice House Gallery is located within the gorgeous Holland Park and offers art exhibitions from the months of April to September. The building itself used to be the actual ice house (prior to the invention of the refrigerator!) for what is known today as Holland House. Today the building serves as a modern-day gallery for small-scale art exhibitions. Visitors can view the artwork for free, whilst meeting the exhibition artist. Much of the artwork is also available for sale.
Situated in the Holland Park area, the Leighton House Museum was the home of former painter, Lord Frederic Leighton. It displays works by Lord Leighton himself, as well as other famous artists. The décor of the house itself is a piece of artwork, which was designed by the architect George Aitchinson around 1865. Lord Leighton’s house was always a work in progress, as he continually added rooms to depict his travels abroad.
The Louise Blouin Foundation is a private non-profit “cultural space” that exhibits works of contemporary artists. Their aim is to inspire a better comprehension of foreign affairs, as well as explore the artistic abilities of the human mind. The institute also offers a series of lectures and events for minimal fees and the venue is available for private hire.
The Orangery Gallery is located in Holland Park and was originally built for Lord and Lady Holland’s soirées. The space is occasionally used as an art gallery, hosting a range of exhibitions throughout the year. It is also most notably rented for private functions, including weddings and receptions for up to 80 guests seated. It is best to call the council for venue hire information and pricing.
The Pump House Gallery is located within the heart of Battersea Park in a beautiful Victorian tower. The gallery is owned by the Wandsworth Council and holds various art exhibitions throughout the year. The gallery also hosts “Sunday Socials” for kids and their parents from 12pm-4pm, which explores themes from the current exhibitions in fun and imaginative ways. Check out their website for upcoming events and exhibitions!
The Royal College of Art Gallery displays graduate student art exhibitions at their campus in Kensington (as well as the campus in Battersea). The student exhibits have free admission with some opportunities to purchase the artwork. The art varies from paintings to prints, jewelry to glassware, as well as furniture to textiles. It’s best to check the website prior to your visit for specific viewing times and dates. The gallery in Kensington is adjacent to the Royal Albert Hall, opposite Kensington Gardens.
Charles Saatchi opened the Saatchi Gallery in 1985 in order to display his art collection to the public. The 70,000 sq ft gallery is spacious and offers a wide collection of modern day art. The exhibits are always changing, so after lunching at the Partridge’s Market, why not pop into the Saatchi Gallery to soak in a bit of culture? The Richard Wilson 20:50 (one of the permanent exhibits) is particularly cool, as it uses architectural space to create an almost dream-like mirroring effect using oil and steel.
The Serpentine Gallery is located in Kensington Gardens and was first established in 1970. It has since displayed the works of over 1,600 artists. Since the year 2000, there has been a temporary pavilion outside the gallery, created by architects from around the globe who have not previously built in the UK. They are generally pretty quirky designs and definitely worth a visit! Afterwards, check out the neighbouring Serpentine Sackler Gallery across the road on West Carriage Drive.
The Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Hyde Park was recently opened in September of 2013. The gallery was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects in a building that used to be a gunpowder shop back in 1805 called “the Magazine”. The gallery has a restaurant by the same name, paying tribute to the building’s extensive history.
The Tabernacle, a community arts centre in Notting Hill, has a small gallery open to the public. The exhibitions regularly change, often promoting the works of new and local artists. From calligraphy, to photography, paintings and more, the Tabernacle proudly shares its love for the arts with members in the local community.
The Visual and Performing Arts department at Kensington and Chelsea College has a small gallery, which regularly exhibits student art. Whether you’re a student at KCC or just a local interested in what the art students have come up with, the art gallery at KCC is sure to have a few whimsical surprises.