As a city dating back to Roman times, London’s heritage is rich in terms of history, architecture and culture. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that this is also true when it comes to art.
London may not necessarily have one single artist associated with the city more than any other in the way that, for instance, L.S. Lowry is connected with Salford and Manchester, but the capital does have an association with some of the biggest names in art. Some of them may prompt you to buy a copy of one of their works and then head to a framing shop in London.
For example, Londontopia’s list of the most famous London artists is topped by Joseph Turner, who was born in Covent Garden. While he is most strongly associated with landscape art, one of his very first great paintings was that of the Archbishop’s Palace in Lambeth, which featured in the Royal Academy’s exhibition of 1790 when he was just 15 years old.
Turner’s links by birth with the capital make it only right that the majority of his works are in the Tate Britain.
William Hogarth was also on the list, with his 18th century works of street life in London making him perhaps the nearest thing to Lowry, although his styles were numerous and very different.
That was in contrast with Southwark’s Thomas Girtin, born in 1775 (like Turner), who died aged just 27 and mostly painted landscapes in the north of England, but also produced the 18 ft high Eidometropolis, a panorama of the capital, and the White House at Chelsea.
This list was completed by ‘kitchen sink realism painter’ Thomas Bratby, born in Wimbledon in 1928, and Anna Airey, a war artist born in Greenwich who produced many WWI images for the Imperial War Museum.
Of course, these are just some of the great artists in London’s history, with others including the likes of Croydon-born Tracy Emin and William Blake (better known for his poem ‘Jerusalem’ than his paintings).
So if you are looking for great art, whether in a gallery or to buy, there are many great London-born artists to choose from.