The National Gallery has been open in a prime spot in Trafalgar Square, central London since 1832 although it was formed in 1824. It houses the national collection of over 2,000 paintings dating from the 13th century onwards and is open to the public without charge.
The Gallery is run by the British Government as a charity and it is the fourth most visited museum in the world. Only the British Museum has more visitors in Britain.
The gallery unusually for a national collection in Europe was not based on a royal collection but from paintings bought by the government at the death of John Julius Angerstein a wealthy insurance broker and notable patron of the arts. Nearly two thirds of the collection have been donated by private benefactors over the years and it is notable for its breadth of coverage of all of western painting.
The building was designed by William Wilkins but only the front facade remains in tact as its has been expanded several times over the succeeding decades. Many people even then criticised its appearance so that the controversy of the post modernist Sainsbury Wing extension in the Twentieth century was nothing new. Because of the lack of space during the Victorian Period modern British painting was taken off to the then new Tate Gallery.
The nearsest Undergound Station is Charing Cross.
Of particular interest for those short of time are:
The Wilton Diptych
The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck
The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello
Venus and Mars by Sandro Botticelli
The Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci
The Entombment by Michelangelo
The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger
The Adoration of the Kings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple by El Greco
The Judgement of Paris by Peter Paul Rubens
The Rokeby Venus by Diego Velazquez
Equestrian Portrait of King Charles First by Anthony van Dyck
Self-Portrait at the Age of 63 by Rembrandt
Marriage a -la-mode by William Hogarth
Whistlejacket by George Stubbs
Mr and Mrs Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough
An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump by Joseph Wright of Derby
The Fighting Temeraire, Rain, Steam and Speed by J. M. W. Turner
The Hay Wain by John Constable
Les Grandes Baigneuses by Paul Cezanne:
The Umbrellas by Pierre-Auguste Renoir:
Tiger in a Tropical Storm by Henri Rousseau:
Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh
Bathers at Asnieres by Georges Seurat
Further information and times can be obtained from www.nationalgallery.org.uk/
Britain Unlimited: We cover 250 Great British people and what made them famous