As a student I used the guildhall library frequently however did not realise that you could access the roman ruins in the art gallery. Last Tuesday @alicemartha and I wanted to see the ruins and were subsequently treated to a second bizarre experience.
The ruins are free for you to see. you will need to hand your bag over to be scanned. As well as the art gallery up stairs that I will come to later there is currently an exhibition called Victoriana, The Art Of Revival. A strange set of rooms filled with curiousities and bizarre objects. Art fund card holders get in for free. You are greeted with a statue with ants crawling up
it and bees on strings around it. There are odd pictures and taxidermy foxes in the back of seat, a vase by Grayson Perry (proud to be able to recognise a Grayson Perry at 5 paces!) a picture of a woman with octopus legs and a strange contraption that would have helped ladies with nerves and an early version of Items that can be found in Ann Summers shops today. On the way out a white room full of white angels can be found.
Small Bizarre and thought provoking showing another side to the Victorian stereotype.
The famous ruins on the basement floor is in a dark room with neon drawn in shapes of men in poses that gladiators would have adopted when fighting. The ruins are well looked after and well worth a visit if you are passing.
Lastly there is the gallery upstairs. Lit by a beautiful stained glass with images from Alma Tadema, John Everett Mallais, an images of Henry VIII the shakespeare play, famous people from antiquity including Cleopatra and an amazing landscape by Constable. My favourite piece was a picture of a young Queen Victoria in all her regalia.
Again the gallery is free and well worth a visit if you are passing. The staff were also polite helpful and unlike many guards in galleries clearly passionate about their charges.
The guildhall is one of London’s hidden treasures and well worth an hour of your time to explore!