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The Reformation dealt a deadly blow to the visual arts in Britain by removing ecclesiastical patronage and severing access to sources of new artistic trends in continental Europe. The aristocracy avidly collected the work of foreign artists but failed to nurture living British artists. 

From early in the 18th century debate abounded around the relationship between British artists and their contemporaries and forerunners across the Channel. Hogarth represented truculent insularity, while Reynolds stood for patrician internationalism and a hope that influence could flow in both directions. However, both artists were united in their longing to establish a native school of painting that could rival the great Continental schools. 

They succeeded, and between 1730 and 1850 English painting was unsurpassed in its richness and diversity. The list of great names includes Stubbs, Joseph Wright of Derby, Gainsborough, Blake, Constable, Turner, Samuel Palmer and the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood – not to mention the Scottish contingent (Allan Ramsay, Henry Raeburn) or the Irish (James Barry) and Welsh (Richard Wilson). Stylistically the day moves from the Rococo, through Neo-Classicism and Romanticism, to the meticulous truth to nature of the early Pre-Raphaelites. 

The day explores this fascinating period of British painting with a selection of the great masterpieces in the National Gallery and Tate Britain.


10.15am at the National Gallery. 


c. 5.30pm at Tate Britain.


£185. This includes lunch, refreshments, a taxi journey and donations to the galleries.

More information about Culture Days gift vouchers.


Are you fit enough to join the tour?

Group size

Maximum 12 participants.


We will return the full amount if you notify us 22 or more days before the event. We will retain 50% if cancellation is made within three weeks and 100% if within three days. Please put your cancellation in writing to We advise taking out insurance in case of cancellation and recommend that overseas clients are also covered for possible medical and repatriation costs. 

Map: London Days.

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