The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery, London
The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London

This is the National Gallery, which is situated on the north side of London’s Trafalgar Square. The gallery was established in 1824, when the British government bought 36 paintings from a banker called John Julius Angerstein.

In the late 18th Century, there was a trend toward nationalising the royal art collections. This happened in Italy, Germany and France. However, Britain didn’t follow this model and instead a series of events led to the establishment of the National Gallery.

First, Angerstein’s collection became available. Then it was proposed in Parliament that the government buy the collection, strengthened by a generous offer by Sir George Beaumont to donate 16 paintings. Third, Austria repaid a war debt, which provided the funds to purchase the collection for £57,000.

The National Gallery was originally housed at No. 100, Pall Mall, but eventually moved to its current location in Trafalgar Square. The building was designed by William Wilkins between 1832-8, and the magnificent facade has remained virtually unchanged ever since, despite frequent expansions of the premises in the intervening years.

The National Gallery website is here.

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