Sunday 27 April 2014

The 'new' Tate Britain

The £45 million renovation of Tate Britain is complete, and it was a real pleasure to visit during our recent trip to London. The first thing that's changed is that the riverside entrance is back and you can enter the gallery from the Millbank side, and enjoy the grand porticoed entranceway, the way Sidney R.J. Smith, the gallery's architect intended it when it first opened in 1897.

This was our first view of the newly refurbished gallery

and then we entered the rotunda which has been closed since the 1920s. The circular balcony of the rotunda's domed atrium takes your breath away

The whole area is very light and airy, light pouring in from the dome above

another look at the circular balcony
Our first stop was the members' room with its 14 metre-long mirrored bar, inspired by Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergere.

The members' area covers the whole of the circular balcony of the rotunda's domed atrium, full of nooks, crannies, domes and busts. It's a very comfortable place to sit, and one can choose to sit in the asymmetric armchairs by Edwin Lutyens (I forgot to take a photograph). Another point of interest are the double-ended spoons by Nicole Wermers (again, unfortunately, no photographs). 

The views of the circular balcony are delightful


Looking down from the balcony one can see the new circular marble staircase in the rotunda, scalloped with Art Deco patterns which recall the Tate's original marble mosaic floor

one more photograph

looking down at the magnificent spiral staircase

looking closer at the steps

We then went down the spiral staircase into the huge basement, full of arches and vaulted ceilings, a space that was once a swamp and then the infamous Millbank penitentiary - the last stop in England for thousands of transported prisoners.


Lots of space in the basement, which includes classrooms, gallery space and the cloakroom

On the way out I was taken by this patterned window

looking  closer.



  1. Replies
    1. I know that you'll love it, Avril. A beautiful restoration, wonderful spaces, and the art... stunning.