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  • Writer's pictureShelagh Casebourne

Best gallery in London?

Open again!

Well I'm delighted that The Mall Galleries (one of my favourite London galleries) is open again and yesterday I made the trip up to town - on a very empty train - to see The New English Art Club's 2021 annual exhibition. The reason I love this gallery so much is that the exhibitions are constantly changing so there's always something new to see. It's home to the Federation of British Artists, comprising nine of the UK's leading art societies, and they all hold their annual exhibitions here.

Stroll in the park(s)

I haven't walked there from Paddington before, as I usually hop on the Bakerloo Line to Piccadilly Circus, but I decided to give it a go. It was a really pleasant walk, firstly through Hyde Park, and then across Green Park and along the Mall. It was an added bonus to see a herd of 60 life-sized elephant sculptures in Green Park, one of nine herds currently in London spaces. They are part of an ongoing collaboration between two organisations, CoExistence and Elephant Family, raising awareness through imaginative public art projects of how we might move towards more mutually beneficial ways of living with wildlife. All I can say is they are quite a sight, and are soon to be joined by 37 sculptures of extinct and endangered birds.

The exhibition

When I arrived at the gallery, I felt that I deserved some coffee and cake, but of course not everything is back to normal, and sadly, none was on offer. However the space in the centre of the gallery has been well used with extra hanging space. A one-way system is in operation, and there is the most wonderful range of work on offer and all the walls are covered. I'm always interested to see which landscapes have made the grade and perhaps with the exception of a couple, they didn't disappoint. My favourites, without a doubt, were by Richard Pikesley - and one of his has deservedly won the NEAC Critics' Prize.

Richard Pikesley Eggardon, Cattle and Western Sky

More elephants!

Uplifted by all the inspiring art I decided that I would walk back to Paddington Station again, via Marylebone High Street, and I encountered another herd of elephants in Berkeley Square on the way. I had the 'Map my walk' app on and was pleased when I arrived at the station to see that, not only had I walked 10.3km, I'd apparently also used 700 calories. I could have had that coffee and cake with a clear conscience so shall 'bank' those saved calories for my next visit!


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