forthcoming events

Dido Powell’s London art museum tours 2020

10:45am, Sunday 22 March, Tate Britain, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG

Dido Powell’s fourth series of fascinating London gallery tours will start on 16 February 2020. If you have attended one of these tours you will know how stimulating, informative and insightful they are. As an artist herself, and a teacher of art history, Dido has a unique approach to bringing out what makes a work of art successful and important, why it has a place in a major art gallery, and why it repays close attention. Do join us in this new series for an illuminating introduction to a range of artistic themes and techniques.

Every tour takes place on a Sunday and meets at 10.45 for an 11am start.

Each tour costs £10 or you can book all five tours for just £45. If you would like to attend please contact Wendy Earle

Tour 1: Sunday 16 February, National Gallery
Work: Part 1
This tour will explore images of manual labour: agricultural, construction and domestic workers. We will investigate the spiritual, moral, didactic and aesthetic roles played by agricultural and domestic workers in romantic landscapes, from Baroque to Impressionism, and Dutch seventeenth-century genre paintings. We will also look at ‘workers’ as a secondary supporting subject within religious and landscape paintings, as well as paintings celebrating commerce, and pride in the production of wealth through trade and industry. Visions of work also can stand as metaphors for ‘creation’ in art.

Tour 2: Sunday 22 March, Tate Britain
Work: Part 2
The second tour on the theme of work will address ‘mental’ work: scholarship, learning, the performance of skills, music, drama, craft - images that can lend themselves to contained compositions; in contrast, we will consider turbulent scenes of humans battling, working against the elements (such as disasters at sea) as signs of mental exertion and physical effort. We will also look at the role of work in the creation of leisure and see where pleasure and work collide.

In discussing works from across the collection, we will explore how the artists’ painting styles reflect their own attitudes to the value of ‘work’ in artistic production.

Tour 3: Sunday 19 April, Tate Modern
Change: Part 1
The theme of ‘change’ will be looked at in terms of artistic responses to periods of technological and social change and political upheaval.
We will start in the early twentieth century looking at how artists manipulated traditional materials to address new forms of communication and production. We will also study works which respond to social/political changes through figurative and expressionist styles. Abstract works celebrating a utopian view of political change will also be discussed.

Tour 4: Sunday 10 May, venue to be confirmed nearer the time
Change Part 2
In the second tour on the theme of change, we will concentrate on how artists now have embraced the changes in materials and media of new technologies to comment on both contemporary society as well as touching on universal themes, often exposing the speed with which the latest technology becomes ‘retro’ and nostalgic as it is in turn replaced.

Tour 5: Sunday 14 June, V&A Museum
Reflections and Light
This tour will focus on the subject of light; its source, its changes, its effect, its distortion and its reflection in man-made and natural objects and environments. We will investigate the spatial, symbolic and illusionistic tricks of reflections and the ways in which artists have used reflective materials in their paintings and sculptures since the invention of the mirror. We will take advantage of the reflective architecture and pool at the V&A Museum courtyard.


Dido Powell
painter; lecturer and tutor in art history and painting

National Gallery photograph by Mike Peel (, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link