Queen's Gallery review
The first thing you need to know about the Queen's Gallery is that it has an annoying habit of selling you a timed ticket during busy periods. So if you're one of those meticulous people who plans out every minute of their holiday itinerary with military precision (run here, run there, take a few photos with no time for smiling, jump on the bus with seconds to spare), then prepare to have your carefully laid plans waylaid, because you might turn up at 1 PM and get told to come back at 2 PM. There's nothing you can do about this. It's the Queen's Gallery, and you can't mess with the Queen (because she's the Queen). If she tells you to return later then that's exactly what you do -- simple as that.
Most of the pictures, paintings and engravings on display are taken from the Royal Collection, but a lot of the temporary exhibitions borrow stuff from other galleries around the world so you never see the same thing twice. At the time of writing they've got an exhibition of self-portraits by the likes of Rubens, Rembrandt and Reynolds, all the way up to Lucien Freud and David Hockney -- so that gives you some idea about the quality of her collection. But it will probably have all disappeared by the time you arrive because they don't hang around for long. In the past I've seen old Italian masters in here, pages from Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks, treasures from the Georgian Court... it can be quite varied.
The architecture of the first room is a bit bland, but the following two are coloured up in the deep greens and velvety reds of Buckingham Palace... but then all of a sudden it's over. That is all you get: three big rooms plus a couple of tiny side bits. After that you'll be standing at the exit pondering whether to buy some chocolates in the gift shop. Let me put it this way: I walked round the entire exhibition, listening to the audioguide and writing this along the way, and I was still finished inside of 45 minutes. But that's not to say it's not worth a visit... I still quite like it whenever I go. But it's not going to fill up an afternoon.
Here's a tip: if you go on a tour of Buckingham Palace then they'll try and peddle a more expensive ticket which includes entry to the Royal Mews and Queen's Gallery as well (they call it a 'Royal Day Out'). But I think it's a complete waste of time going to the Queen's Gallery if you're already going to the palace, because you'll see the best of the Royal Collection in there anyway.
What do you think?Please leave a comment
I’ve been here more than once…