Discover one of London’s hidden gems, including The Cartoon Museum, Leighton House and the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising.
While London leads the way with blockbuster exhibitions, Sam Rogg discovers that niche venues such as The Cartoon Museum and the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising are well worth a visit, too
It’s no secret that London is home to some of the biggest and best museums in the world, from The British Museum to The National Gallery. But sometimes it’s nice to escape the crowds and head to one of London’s smaller treasure troves. Take a trip down memory lane at the Museum of Brands, Packaging &
Advertising (p. 34), not far from the famous Portobello Road Market. It might seem like a rather unusual subject for a museum, but few things evoke more nostalgia in us than the sight of a poster, advert, fad or fashion from our younger years. Inside you’ll find more than 12,000 original items including Rimmel cosmetics from the 1890s, World War I OXO (stock) cubes and a 1970s Chopper bike, plus a ‘time tunnel’ of consumer culture, from the Victorian era up to today.
If you’re curious to see what happens when a wealthy 19th-century artist is left to create his own ‘private palace of art’, then step inside
Leighton House (p. 34) in Holland Park. This purpose-built former home and studio for Lord Leighton is a work of art in itself; inside you’ll find a stunning collection of his works plus the striking Arab Hall filled with his magnificent assortment of 16th-century tiles. Flaming June: The Making of an Icon( to 2 Apr) marks the return of Leighton’s most famous work from Puerto Rico and is well worth a look.
Named after its Victorian founder, the pharmacist Sir Henry Wellcome, whose passion for medicine led him to collect more than a million objects, the Wellcome
Collection (p. 36) is a curious attraction. Explore the history of medicine and its impact on our lives through exhibits spanning six centuries. Highlights include a Peruvian mummy and a robot used in the Human Genome Project. Making-Nature (to 21 May) looks at how we see animals and Bedlam: The Asylum and Beyond( to 15 Jan) explores how mental illness has been shaped over the centuries, with some interesting insights into what the future might hold.
Bloomsbury’s The Cartoon Museum (p. 33) is home to British cartoon and comic art from the 18th century to the present day. Don’t let its small size deceive you – inside you’ll find more than 6,000 books and comics, a permanent collection with examples of the golden age of caricature, plus Picturesfrom Punch (to 22 Jan), an exhibition of drawings from the iconic magazine.
Good things come in small packages, too!
Clockwise from this image: Wellcome Collection; the Arab Hall at Leighton House; the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising Below: FlamingJune at Leighton House