If you’ve ever travelled to Britain, you have most indubitably run across at least one majestic museum. The reason for this is simply that there are so many exquisite cultural landmarks adorning the proud island complex that they are impossible to miss. Let us see some of them that should not be missed by any tourist!
1. Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology:
Also known as the Ashmolean Museum, the pride of Oxford was established in 1683. Situated proudly upon Beaumont Street, its building was erected between the years 1678 and 1683 to harbour the collection of curiosities that Elias Ashmole handed to the University of Oxford in 1677 (thus, it became the world’s first university museum). Since its inauguration, the establishment has gone through a couple of redesigns such as those of 2009 and 2011 (this is when new sections opened up that thematically pertained to the Egyptians and the Nubians). Famous painters represented include: Pablo Picasso, Giambattista Pittoni, Paolo Uccello, Anthony van Dyck, Peter Paul Rubens, Paul Cézanne, John Constable, Titian, Claude Lorrain, Samuel Palmer, John Singer Sargent, Piero di Cosimo, William Holman Hunt, and Edward Burne-Jones. Other important attractions include the Alfred Jewel, a death mask of Oliver Cromwell, the Narmer Macehead, the Scorpion Macehead, the Kish tablet, the Abingdon Sword, the Metrological Relief, and exquisite drawings from Michelangelo, Raphael and, the master of grandmasters, Leonardo da Vinci. Notable past exhibitions that took place there include: Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural; Storms, War and Shipwrecks: Treasures from the Sicilian Seas; Elizabeth Price: A RESTORATION; Andy Warhol: Works from the Hall Collection; Drawing in Venice: Titian to Canaletto; An Elegant Society: Adam Buck, artist in the age of Jane Austen; The Eye of the Needle: English Embroideries from the Feller Collection; Francis Bacon / Henry Moore: Flesh and Bone; Stradivarius; Xu Bing: Landscape Landscript; and many others. If nothing else, you, our dear reader, can see how important and majestic of an establishment the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology really is and we hope that our brief presentation of its attractions has created a desire for you to visit it (wink).
2. National Gallery:
There is nothing better than a fine art museum in the heart of a capital city. But wait, there’s more, for London’s National Gallery is also free of charge. For this particular reason, it has become one of the most visited museums in the world (over 6 million viewers each year), beaten only by Beijing’s Palace Museum, Paris’ Louvre, London’s British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City. Established in 1824, the pride of London is located in Trafalgar Square (within the bounds of the City of Westminster borough). Housing more than 2,300 paintings dating from the 13th century all the way to the 1900s, it was not created by simply nationalising an existing royal or princely art collection – its first steps were made when the British Government purchased 38 paintings from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein. Notable works that you can find within its bounds include: “The Raising of Lazarus” by Sebastiano del Piombo (the first one ever to make it there officially), “Marriage à-la-mode” by William Hogarth, “The Baptism of Christ” by Piero della Francesca, “Venus at her Mirror” (The Rokeby Venus) by Diego Velázquez, “The Arnolfini Portrait” by Jan van Eyck, and many others. The building that harbours the establishment was designed and built by master architect William Wilkins between the years 1832 and 1838 and it adheres to the standards of the Neoclassical architectural style. Join the aforementioned army of 6 million that visits the museum each year.
3. International Slavery Museum:
Slavery might not be a desirable social subject but no matter how much we might hate and condemn it, it was once part of the societies that we live in today. For this particular purpose, one might wish to bask in the dim radiance of the International Slavery Museum of Liverpool. Affiliated with the National Museums Liverpool group, the establishment explores not only historical slavery but contemporary slavery as well. Additionally, there is an entire section that pertains to West Africa and the culture of the peoples living there before the transatlantic slave trade. You will find the museum on the third floor of the building that houses the Merseyside Maritime Museum as well (another fine one that you might want to check out).
Did you enjoy our list? Tell us how many of the aforementioned cultural landmarks are you planning to visit in the comment section below! Safe travels!