Dulwich is a centre for the Arts and Culture in London. As well as being home to the world’s first purpose-built art gallery, as you wander round the area you can see one of the best collections of street art across London from many famous artists, inspired by the collection at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
A visit to Dulwich would not be complete without taking in the House of Dreams, the personal art museum of Stephen Wright. If you happen to visit in May, The Dulwich Festival will be in full swing, an arts festival that has been going for over 30 years and, at the last count, there were over 100 events, many of which were free.
The Dulwich Picture Gallery is the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery with a renowned collection in a building designed by Sir John Soane.
The Gallery is a vibrant cultural hub hosting some of the UK’s leading exhibitions alongside its permanent collection of Baroque masterpieces while staging a wide-ranging programme of events and community engagement
It was founded in 1811 when Sir Francis Bourgeois RA bequeathed his collection of old masters “for the inspection of the public”.
Dulwich Picture Gallery was also designed with three acres of gardens. Populated with many interesting trees including Fulham, Red and English oaks as well as a Mulberry tree, the gardens are free and are open all year round for you to enjoy. If you visit the Gallery, be sure to spend some time enjoying these wonderful gardens and include a visit to the marvellous cafe.
Interesting fact: Did you know that Giles Gilbert Scott was inspired by the Gallery when he designed the iconic telephone kiosk?
Dulwich is home to the most amazing collection of Street Art, known as the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery. There are impressive artworks right across the area. This is not some random collection of graffiti, but a carefully choreographed series of artworks, from huge paintings on the side of walls to miniature paintings on the pavement. The idea was born from a collaboration between street artist Stik and Ingrid Beazley from the Dulwich Picture Gallery and now includes art from a large number of renowned artists, many of them inspired by the Gallery’s permanent collection.
The Dulwich Festival is one of London’s foremost arts festivals celebrating the culture, community and people in Dulwich and its surrounding area. It takes place in May each year and comprises over 100 events encompassing comedy, music, the arts, literature, walks as well as fairs and markets.
Interesting fact: As part of the Dulwich Festival over 450 artists open their houses to the public providing a phenomenal opportunity to see a huge variety of art and meet the artists.
The House of Dreams is a terraced house in East Dulwich transformed into the personal art museum of former textile designer and art director Stephen Wright. Beginning in 1998, Stephen is creating a diary of his life from childhood to today - influenced by the culture in places like Mexico, Haiti, Bolivia, India that use colour to express joy and loss.
Every single surface is covered in weird and wonderful objects from false teeth to bottle tops - alongside Stephen’s hand-written memory boards.
Do take a look at this wonderful video with Stephen explaining his work.
Interesting fact: Stephen has bequeathed his home to the National Trust
Where to find (links to Google Maps):