ART & EXHIBITIONS
Please note: this exhibition’s opening date may be subject to change, in line with government guidance.
Chintz: Cotton in Bloom is a collection with an extraordinary story, spanning hundreds of years and thousands of miles. The complicated technical craftsmanship required to fix bright dyes to cotton, devised across centuries and using complex chemical formulae, meant that for many years Chintz was a closely guarded secret, or preserve of the elite. However, by the 18th century chintz had become more widely accessible. The lightweight, washable, gaily coloured and boldly patterned cottons eventually became a sensation throughout England and across Europe. These developments resulted in the intricate, colourful flowers of chintz fabric being cherished and preserved by generations. Chintz: Cotton in Bloom showcases some 150 examples of this treasured textile, originating from all around the world; from mittens to wall hangings and from extravagant 18th-century sun hats to stylish mourning dresses.
Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture 3 September to January 2022 Fashion & Textile Museum
In the mid-1960s a handful of Chelsea boutiques sparked a fashion revolution. Freed and fuelled by creative exploration and experimentation, they began selling radical clothing to the counterculture youth. Their outrageously flamboyant designs were inspired by romantic ideas of the past; Byron-esque frilled shirts were paired with Regency brocades and plush velvet trousers were mixed with influences from Morocco and the Far East.
They blurred gender boundaries with increasingly androgynous styles, creating an explosion of colour, pattern and decoration. Beautiful People explores fabulous and rare examples from these era-defining stores and designers, examining the shared free spirit of Granny Takes A Trip, Hung On You, Apple, Biba, Mr Fish, Thea Porter, Ossie Clark and more. Clothes worn by the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix will be displayed as part of recreations of these iconic boutiques.
“Our core purpose at VITRINE – the reason I started the gallery – is to encourage artistic experimentation and development. Our model of running ‘vitrine’ spaces allows this. Firstly, these sites mean that we can take more risks: we don’t need to move towards a dealership model, or limit our programme to conservative curatorial choices, in order to be sustainable.
Secondly, using an innovative space encourages artists to develop ambitious, experimental works that explore the confines of the space. Finally, our new model frees up resources for collaborative approaches and non-for-profit projects. In 2014, we launched our SCULPTURE AT programme – a programme commissioning a series of public sculptures in London’s Bermondsey Square. Sponsoring this type of work is a vital part of our mission!” – Alys Williams in conversation with Marsha Pearce (2016).
Beneath the curious cobbled pathways of the Square Mile lies a rich Roman history surviving 2,000 years of building, fires and conflict. Lower Thames Street is home to one of Roman London’s most fascinating remains. The Billingsgate Roman Bathhouse was discovered in 1848, and is now open for public inspection.
Explore this fascinating building and get insight into ancient life in the City on a 45-minute guided tour and discover the remains of the Roman Bathhouse which lies hidden beneath office buildings. Tours take place on Saturdays from April to November.
There’s always something to see and do at Southbank Centre, the bustling arts centre by the river Thames. See shows and exhibitions, take part in vibrant festivals, and look out for free music and events. Enjoy a drink or a meal in one of the many bars and restaurants or soak up the atmosphere at the iconic Royal Festival Hall. In addition to the Royal Festival Hall, the expansive site includes Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Rooms and the Poetry Library. The arts centre hosts a festival programme of over 5000 events every year across the genres of art, theatre, dance, classical and contemporary music, literature and debate.