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Galleries in Mayfair

Galleries in Mayfair

Located in central London, Mayfair is one of the most upmarket areas of Britain’s capital, containing some exclusive shops, restaurants, luxury hotels and clubs. The Burlington Arcade is the most notable shopping area in Mayfair, and has a long history dating back to 1819. Mayfair has also been a magnet for art collectors and enthusiasts of art for around 250 years. The Royal Academy of Arts is famous around the world, as is Sotheby’s auction house. Among the plethora of art galleries in Mayfair, the Mayor Gallery is one of the most impressive. Here’s a short guide to all three.

The Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy was founded in 1768 by King George III. Prominent figures from art and architecture were among the academy’s founding members, including one of Britain’s greatest ever painters, Sir Joshua Reynolds. Famous artists who are associated with the Piccadilly-based academy include John Constable, JMW Turner, Thomas Gainsborough, and Stanley Spencer. More recent Academicians have been David Hockney, Norman Foster, Tracey Emin, Anish Kapoor, and Antony Gormley.


 One of the most famous auction houses in the world, Sotheby’s has a reputation for selling valuable art. It is also renowned for selling diamonds and wine. Sotheby’s of London is situated in New Bond Street, and another major Sotheby’s auction house is situated in Manhattan, New York City. The highest price ever paid for a painting occurred at London’s Sotheby’s in November 2006, when Jackson Pollock’s ‘No. 5, 1948’ was allegedly bought for $140million. This still remains the most expensive painting in the world. ‘Massacre of the Innocents’ by Peter Paul Rubens, which sold for $76.7million in 2002, had been the previous most expensive painting sold by Sotheby’s in the UK.

The Mayor Gallery

The first art gallery to be opened on Cork Street – in 1925 – the Mayor Gallery specialises in 20th century art. Described as the leading gallery in London for Surrealist art, the Mayor also has a strong emphasis on American and European Pop Art. The Mayor Gallery was the centre for the UNIT ONE group of artists and sculptors, which included Henry Moore, Paul Nash, and Ben Nicholson. Work by Andy Warhol, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Joan Miro, Francis Bacon, and Roy Lichtenstein have all been displayed at the gallery. The Mayor Gallery was founded by Fred Mayor, and, following Fred’s death in 1973, was taken over by his son James.

Alongside the more famous Sotheby’s, Royal Academy, and Mayor Gallery are an array of interesting art galleries in the Mayfair area. These include Waterhouse & Dodd, James Hyman Gallery, Burlington Paintings, Riyahi Gallery, Richard Green, and the Victor Arwas Gallery. For fans of art, Mayfair is one of the best places in the world to visit.

Iconic London hotels Claridge’s and the Dorchester both have a range of suites boasting stunning views across the city, complete with beautiful furnishings and a range of designer luxuries to ensure the full movie-star experience. The Ritz in Paris offers different levels of suite, from Deluxe to Prestige, all decorated in flamboyant baroque Louis XV French style. In New York’s most famous hotel, the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue, the suites have seen a constant glittering procession of celebrities since the hotel opened over a hundred years ago. These include Cole Porter, Marilyn Monroe and, more recently, Paris Hilton, who spent her childhood in the hotel when it became part of the Hilton group.

In the iconic 1990 film Pretty Woman, Vivian (Julia Roberts’s character) asks Edward (the wealthy business man played by Richard Gere) why he stays in the penthouse suite if he’s not keen on heights. “Because it’s the best,” he replies simply.

Who wouldn’t want a little taste of a life like that?

Jonathan is a keen blogger who has written on a wide range of topics including luxury hotels, culture and industry news

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