An Art Lover’s Ultimate Guide To Christmas 2019
Marjotte Miles on behalf of London Art Studies
We’ve decided to do something a little different this year for our Almost Essential readers, and highlight a few art events which we hope will add a festive – and arty flair – to your holiday celebrations.
Christmas at Blenheim Palace
If you can make time for a day trip to Oxford, it’s worth it to visit Vanbrugh’s iconic Blenheim Palace, made even more magical during the festive season by its illuminated light trail and Christmas Market. Expect radiating aerial show lights, dazzling fountains and shimmering trees. Perhaps less bright but just as impressive, the ceramics, jewellery and other treasures on display at the market are bound to catch your attention, before you plunge back into the enchanted trail – maybe sipping on a mulled wine this time around!
Beware… the State Rooms have been transformed into Alice’s psychedelic wonderland, a fabulous addition to Churchill’s birthplace.
Christmas at Blenheim opens November 22nd and closes January 5th, 10am-8pm (last entry 7pm). Book in person in person or via the website. www.blenheimpalace.com
A Georgian Christmas at the Soane Museum in Bloomsbury.
Step back in time to experience a Georgian candlelit Christmas.
Can you imagine Winter without Christmas? In 1644, Oliver Cromwell made it a reality, actually banning Christmas. Even singing carols was illegal! Thank goodness for us, Charles II brought back Christmas, which became an extremely popular celebration throughout the Georgian Period.
We’ve been told that a Georgian Christmas consists of spiritual readings, choirs and drinks, which sounds like a good mix to us. Head over to the Soane Museum’s special Christmas trail, during which you will enjoy all of the above, as well as the performances and interactive talks. You might even bump into Soane’s housekeeper, Mrs Conduit – for better or for worse.
Take the time to visit their current exhibition, Hogarth – Place and Progress before or after your complimentary gin. And before you reach for a second drink, remember Hogarth’s Gin Lane, also on display in the museum…
Book in person or via the museum’s website, £25. Slots available between 6 and 7.30pm, 18+. www.soane.org
Music, Mulled Wine and Mince Pies at the Wallace Collection
Following their sold-out 2018 Christmas concert, the Wallace Collection is bringing back the Vox Luna Chamber Choir for an evening of traditional and contemporary carols performed alongside some of the collections most festive artworks, such as Philippe de Champaigne’s Adoration of the Shepherds.
Industry insiders have described the choir’s founder, Alex Woolf, as “one of the UK’s freshest new composing voices” and a “major presence” on the music scene. Woolf is also the recipient of the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize. However, what makes the choir truly unique is the individual talent of every musician. Vox Luna has put together a perfect selection of festive music, bringing together new Christmas carols alongside all favourite classics. Enjoy the opportunity of seeing them perform in such an intimate setting.
And Christmas concert would never be complete without the traditional mulled wine and mince pie, conveniently included in the concert ticket.
December 19th, £30 (£25 con), 7-8.30pm. Book in person, by phone or online via the Wallace Collection’s Website www.wallacecollection.org
Sculpture Symposium at Hauser and Wirth Somerset
For a bit of “brain food” we’d suggest booking a trip to Hauser and Wirth Somerset for their “Positioning Sculpture” Symposium this Thursday. You’ll be able to see the brilliant Bharti Kher show, as well as hear the panel discuss issues such as how to commission sculpture for public display. You will learn how artists respond to different sites, and conceive artworks which inspire and challenge audiences. The tickets include an afternoon tea – which might come as a welcome break from traditional Christmas treats.
We were lucky enough to hear Bharti Kher discuss her own work last week, and the energy she tries “to invoke in the sculptures”. Go now, to Hauser Somerset, if you haven’t visited and enjoy the discussion, the art and the stunning landscape.
Australian Wine Tasting – seriously…
Temporarily escape the challenge of Christmas shopping and indulge in a sumptuous Australian wine tasting with wine connoisseur Matthew Jukes. Discover some of the finest Australian wines, whilst admiring artist Bruce Munro’s light installation.
Escape even further, and learn more about the art from Australia, whilst you indulge in a bit of “me time”.
You’ll even leave with a “present to self” with Matthew’s latest book listing the 100 Best Australian Wines of 2019-2020, and if it’s too hard to leave, do stay and enjoy a meal at the Mess Restaurant.
Fri, 13 December 2019, 7:30 – 10:30pm
Tickets £20 (wine tasting only), £50 (wine tasting and supper). Book via EventBrite.
Christmas Poems at the National Gallery
Is your voice is aching from all that choir-belting? Time to give it a rest and enjoy the National Gallery’s free lunchtime talk, during which the celebrated poet Tamar Yoseloff will bring Gossaert’s sixteenth-century altarpiece depicting The Adoration of the Kings to life through poems by T.S. Eliot, coupled with some of her own creations.
Places are allocated on a first-come first-served basis, so do arrive a little in advance.
Wednesday 11th of December, 1 – 1.30pm, Room 14, free event.
More information of the National Gallery’s website.
London Art Studies Annual Pass
And very lastly, why not avoid the Christmas crowds completely and consider a gift certificate to London Art Studies for your nearest and dearest. We’re delighted to let you know that we won the “People’s Choice” for Art in last month’s Lovie awards – honouring the best of the European Internet – for our clear and concise films about art. Gift certificates can be posted, or even delivered online to friends and family who will be able to enjoy this thoughtful gift year-round.
£88 for annual subscription via the London Art Studies website.