This Week in London – The ‘Concert of Antient Music’ recalled; National Portrait Gallery announces reopening date; and, Heath Robinson’s Shakespeare illustrations…

The Foundling Museum. PICTURE: dvdbramhall/Flickr (licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The 18th and 19th century concert series – ‘Concert of Antient Music’ – is explored in a new display at the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury. Located in the Handel Gallery, Music for the King: The Concert of Antient Music looks at the story behind the establishment of this concert series which were held at various locations in London annually from 1776 to 1848 and which only featured works composed at least 20 years prior. The concerts attracted patronage from the likes of King George III and members of the nobility – in fact, the King was such an admirer of Handel’s music that he instructed an extra concert – a performance of Handel’s Messiah – be given annually for the benefit of the Royal Society of Musicians. The display includes portraits of composers including Handel, Geminiani and Corelli as well as those of singers and other performers along with the index of performances and payment records for performers, letters, tickets and programmes of the concerts. Admission charge applies. Runs until 8th October. For more, see https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/event/music-for-the-king-the-concert-of-antient-music/.

The National Portrait Gallery has announced it will reopen its doors for the first time since 2020 on 22nd June this year. The reopening will follow a major redevelopment project, ‘Inspiring People’, which includes a comprehensive redisplay of the gallery’s collection, spanning from the Tudor period to today, as well as the restoration of Grade I-listed buildings and historic features. The new design – the work of Jamie Fobert Architects working in partnership with Purcell – will incorporate the Blavatnik Wing, the entire first floor encompassing nine galleries, which will explore society and culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It will also see the return of the gallery’s East Wing to public use as the Weston Wing, restore original gallery spaces and create new retail and catering facilities.

On Now: Heath Robinson’s Shakespeare Illustrations. This exhibition at the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner features Robinson’s illustrations from works including Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare (1902), Twelfth Night (1908) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1914) as well as some of the illustrations he created for a never published complete works of Shakespeare commissioned by the publishing house of Jonathan Cape. The exhibition can be seen until 19th March. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.heathrobinsonmuseum.org/whats-on/heath-robinsons-shakespeare-illustrations/.

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