The National Gallery of London, located in Trafalgar Square was established in 1824 when the then House of Commons came to the agreement of purchasing the picture collection of John JuliusAngerstein. The banker’s collection consisted of 38 pictures and was purchased for £57,000. These pictures were intended to become the foundation of the national collection for everyone’s education as well as enjoyment. Before the gallery was constructed, the pictures hung in display at Julius Angerstein’s home in Pall Mall. For the first 20 years of its establishment, the gallery had an unorganized administration. It also had a small number of staff and many of the duties often fell upon the shoulders of the gallery’s Keeper. There were also plenty of grave mistakes on the part of the Board of Trustees which resulted from their lack of proper meetings.
Eventually, due to continuous criticism from the public, the government started an enquiry and then came reforms to the gallery’s current administration. A new Director was put into place and in his hands was the responsibility to manage as well as shaped the gallery’s collection. Today, the gallery boasts of a great collection of various paintings from some of the world’s finest artistes. Among them are Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Sandro Botticelli’s Venus and Mars, Claude-Oscar Monet’s Bather’s at La Grenouillere, Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s The Supper at Emmaus as well as George Stubbs’ Whistlejacket among others. The National Gallery has a permanent collection as well as long-term loans kept inside its walls. There are also times when they loan some of the paintings to other museums and as such, it would be wise to phone them prior to your visit and ask whether a specific painting is currently on display.