The foundation of London was laid by the Romans in about AD 50. The city grew swiftly during their reign as one of the most important Roman settlements in the province, on account of trade that flourished because of the River Thames. There were several large public buildings constructed by the Romans at the time. One of the most striking of these is the Roman amphitheatre in the city. It was initially made of wood and later partially rebuilt in stone and tile during the early part of the second century. It is these remains that can be seen by visitors to the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery.
If you are a history buff and keen to learn more about the history of Britain, a trip to London is a must! While in London it is best to stay in a hotel in the centre of the city. If you visit it during the winter months there are a number of great London hotel deals to choose from.
The benefit of staying at any accommodation in Paddington or the hotels near Moorgate is that they are well connected to all parts of London. Plus you are a stone’s throw away from the best shopping and entertainment venues and attractions in the area.
If you are staying at The Montcalm Brewery Hotel on Chiswell Street London you will be a short distance from the Guildhall Art Gallery & Amphitheatre, which is a wonderful place to explore. It offers visitors an opportunity to visit an archaeological site and view authentic Roman relics and artefacts. These sessions are conducted by a professional archaeologist, who gives a detailed introduction to London in Roman times, the topography as it existed at that time and life during that ancient period. There is a stunning art collection of more than 400 years, with art works by prominent Victorian artists, and the remains of the amphitheatre. The gallery also organises exhibitions and other events on a regular basis.
The Guildhall Art Gallery was founded in 1886 with the purpose of creating ‘a Collection of Art Treasures worthy of the capital city’. However, the actual building was completely destroyed in an air raid during World War II. It was during restoration work carried out in 1988, when it was in the process of being restored on its original site that archaeologists found the relics of London’s Roman Amphitheatre. The building was constructed in a way to include the underground ruins and opened to the public in 1999.
Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman London’s Amphitheatre is a fabulous place to spend an afternoon exploring on a trip to the city. Apart from the fantastic art works the artefacts and relics of the Roman amphitheatre is what draws visitors to the place. Visitors to the Guildhall Art Gallery get a free entry on Fridays and also a free tour (if they want). Although it is always best to opt for the guided tour of the place. It is the best way to learn about the history of the place as the accompanying professional guide is a treasure trove of information and history about the artwork and the Roman ruins to be found here. The tour lasts for about 40 minutes and is well worth joining!
The tour offers a great opportunity to see some of the best exhibits of the permanent collection, along with the amphitheatre. The art gallery has more than 4000 pieces of art as part of its collection. As a norm there are about 250 on display at a time.
There is the famous painting by William Miller which shows the Swearing in of the Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Nathaniel Newham. It is a painting that tells a vivid story with a number of characters that form part of the scene. And it becomes all the more interesting with the expert commentary of the guide, who apart from his extensive knowledge, explains the details in a most interesting manner.
One of the most impressive and massive artworks is the piece done by John Singleton Copley, which is ‘The Siege of Gibraltar’. It took the artist 8 long years to complete. It is artfully done and is based on an actual battle that happened in Gibraltar on 13 September, 1782. It draws and captivates the attention of all who visit the gallery. You could stand and admire it in detail after the tour is over.
Other prominent paintings that are worth viewing in the gallery are Ninth of November, The Last Evening, My First Sermon, The Waterworks at London Bridge on Fire 1779, The Story of Smithfield Market Exhibition and Entrance to the Fleet River among other fine pieces of art. Even if you are not too much of an art lover, you will leave the place with a new sense of appreciation for art as a powerful medium to convey a message.
Then a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre, which is the only of its kind in the city and within the gallery, is an amazing experience. While there is not much in terms of remains of the original building itself, just a few sections of the wall and other relics, it is the use of digital technology that makes it a life like experience. The gallery management has made optimal use of modern technology to enhance the experience of visitors to such a level, as to envision what the actual 7000 seat building must have looked like at the time it was built. A visit to the Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman London’s Amphitheatre, is definitely a must to have on your trip to London.