Have only 20 minutes to spare and need a quick art fix? Catch Constable and peruse the Pre-Raphaelites on our highlights tour of must-see artworks from our collection on display at Tate Britain
Let us help you while away your lunch hour as you browse the Tate collection online, or visit the gallery and see them dsiplayed in their full glory alongside other works of their time. Whether you decide to ignore your pinging inbox or take a big breath of art-filled air, take a short break and discover six unmissable artworks on display at Tate Britain.
1. Flatford Mill (‘Scene on a Navigable River’) 1816 - 7, John Constable
Constable is one of Britain’s best-loved and greatest painters. His talent at conveying a pastoral scene with breathtaking vision - working outdoors and painting directly from nature - has lead to his name being synoymous with an enduring popular image of Britain’s countryside. Born in East Bergholt, Suffolk, he began work on Flatford Mill a few months before getting married, and he declared it one of the last made of his ‘careless boyhood’. The Constable family business was at Flatford, about a mile from East Bergholt.
View in Room 1810
2. Ophelia 1851 - 2, Sir John Everett Millais
The tale of Shakespeare’s Ophelia - a fair maiden who is driven out of her mind when her father is murdered by her lover Hamlet and drowns herself in a stream - is so seductive that Millais’s depiction is consistently one of our most viewed artworks, both inside the gallery on our website. In accordance with the aims of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Millais painted with close observation of nature. The figure of Ophelia was added afterwards and the model, Elizabeth Siddal, was required to pose in a bath of water kept warm by lamps underneath.
View in Room 1840
3. Pelagos 1946, Dame Barbara Hepworth
Hollowed-out of elm, Pelagos (‘sea’ in Greek) was inspired by a view of the bay at St Ives in Cornwall, where two arms of land enfold the sea on either side. Hepworth was particulary active within the modernist artistic community in St Ives during its period of post-war international prominence; and as one of the most eminent sculptors of the twentieth century, you may well instantly recognise the rhythmic curves of her work. She moved to Cornwall with her husband Ben Nicholson in 1939, and produced some of her finest sculpture in its wild landscape.
View in Room 1940
4. Three Studies for Figures at the base of a Crucifixtion c.1944, Francis Bacon
If you’re taking the tour by foot you won’t have to go far to view next this collection masterpiece by the great British painter Francis Bacon. As the work is hung on a literal turning point in the gallery, it also marks a turning point in the history of British art, according to curator Chris Stephens. With its distorted forms and screaming mouths, the three paintings reflect the horrors of the second world war, and when the triptych was first exhibited in April 1945 it secured Bacon’s reputation.
View in Room 1940
5. King and Queen 1952-3, cast 1957, Henry Moore
A tour of highlights simply wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Moore. Having emerged in the 1920s as an avant-garde figure, Moore was rapidly established as the leading British sculptor and is one of the great artists of the twentieth century. His enduring subject was the human body, through which he believed ‘one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way’. King and Queen focuses on the ancient conception of the monarch as a divine being.
View in Room: Henry Moore and the Tate
Henry Moore’s King and Queen was presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery with funds provided by Associated Rediffusion Ltd 1959. Find out more on how Members help support acquisitions
Have a bit more time? Try one of our free, daily guided tours in the gallery