Front row tickets to museums, galleries and more

Virtual tours. Copyright The Royal Collection Trust

If, like me, you enjoy snooping around great country houses, museums and galleries then social distancing needn’t stop us from exploring. Isn’t it true that as one door closes, another opens? While UK attractions are currently closed to the public many are opening their virtual doors. Now is the perfect time to take a personal tour of some of the best collections from the comfort of your armchair. Here’s a few of my top picks this week.

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Review: Andy Warhol at Tate Modern

Marilyn Diptych 1962 Acrylic on canvas support (each): 2054 x 1448 x 20 mm. © 2020 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by DACS, London

Andy Warhol (1928 to 1987) was the son of immigrants, a shy gay man who became a leading figure in the visual art movement otherwise. He was born in 1928 as Andrew Warhola to working class parents from present day Slovakia. In 1949 he moved from Pittsburgh to New York. Initially working as a successful commercial illustrator, his skill at transforming the imagery of American culture soon developed as ground-breaking pop art.

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Abbeys and cathedrals: intrigue, love and hubris

I’m not a church-goer although regular Sunday services were a part of my upbringing. I don’t know if it’s that familiarity between heritage churches and childhood, but I love the feeling of peace and contemplation in the soaring spires, graceful arches and supporting buttresses of these historic buildings. The stories of the people who built them and those who worshipped, remain in the exquisite architecture and dramatic frescoes. The very stones are imbued with history and all its attendant intrigue, love, ambition and power.

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A life of contemplation: Abbey of Santi Nazaro and Celso

The Benedictine Abbey of Santi Nazaro and Celso was founded in 1040. It was also a fortification hence the disproportionate watch tower.

It seems like every town and city in the Piemonte region of north west Italy features a magnificent historical building, or two. If, like me, you appreciate classical architecture, incredible gardens and exquisite frescoes this should be on your list of places to visit. This part of Italy is so different from the sunny climes further south and it has a distinctly Gothic atmosphere.

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Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh

The Valley of the Kings

A new blockbuster exhibition opened last week at the Saatchi Gallery, London. 150 treasures are on display at Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh as part of a world tour before returning forever to Egypt. Over 60 pieces are on loan outside their home country for the first time. London is the third stop in a ten-city world tour, which broke records in Los Angeles before becoming France’s most attended exhibition ever attracting over 1.4 million attendees. The hottest ticket in town this winter!

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Review: A Rothschild Treasury

Gates to a treasure trove. A Rothschild Treasury at Waddesdon Manor

A new exhibition space opens today (7 September 2019) at Waddesdon Manor, the fairytale house built in 1870 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. The new permanent exhibiton A Rothschild Treasury is a treasure trove of artefacts, many never before seen by the public. Here’s a brief tour around the stunningly beautiful and romantic interior of this unique country house.

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The Musée Louvre-Lens: 5,000 years of art

A satellite of the iconic Louvre in Paris, the Musée Louvre-Lens in the Pas-de-Calais region of France, is a jewel of a discovery. Once an important mining region, Lens is now home to an art gallery, a luxury hotel of the same name and a restaurant, L’Atelier Marc Meurin.

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