Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Art Bookshop Review: Tate Britain Millbank Shop

The Millbank Shop at Tate Britain
shelves of books about British Artists

all photos copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I love the warm but light wood floors and bookshelves of the Millbank Shop in Tate Britain. It gives a feel of a modern classic. It also fits very well with the nature of the art in this great museum of British art.

One of the things I like most about this museum is that whenever I visit it's quiet! I'm not sure what it's like at weekends but whenever I've visited on weekdays it doesn't have the hordes who are always thronging around the comparable bookshop at Tate Modern - and I like it a lot better for that.

Name of Art Bookshop: Tate Britain - Millbank Shop
Address: Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
Shop opening hours: 10.00–17.40 Monday to Sunday
Contact: If you would like to contact the shops at Tate Britain email
Telephone: 020 7887 8888
Of interest to: art lovers, exhibition visitors, art students, art teachers and art history buffs
  • great range of good quality art books about British Art and British Artists - past and present
  • A very nice environment providing a good "bookshop" feel
  • Tends to be quiet and a bit library like - which is a big plus point for me
  • Books in stock include ones which can be difficult to find elsewhere
  • exhibition catalogues from current and past exhibitions
  • exhibition catalogues from overseas exhibitions in comparable galleries
  • selection of art instruction books
  • selection of art books for children
  • basic art materials available
  • offers a mail order service
Think Again?
  • For books about more contemporary/international art see the bookshop in the basement of the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern
  • more oriented towards the art lover than the hobby artist wanting art instruction books
Summary: This is the bookshop to go if:
  • you enjoy books about British Art and artists
  • you need an art bookshop near Victoria

See large versions of the photos featured in this review in my Tate Britain Millbank Shop set on Flickr.

Shelves devoted to British Art History A-F, F-P and P-Z

The Millbank Shop has a great range of books about British Art History and a fantastic selection of books about British Artists - both past and present - including catalogues of their work. I had an impression that it favours painters. In terms of living artists, it certainly seemds to lean more towards Freud, Hockney and Doig than artists like Hirst and Emin.

I found a copy of the David Hockney catelogue Nur Natur - Just Nature for the current Hockney exhibition in Germany here when the Annely Juda Gallery holding another recent David Hockney exhibition only had one copy of Just Nature - for reference only - and had told me they couldn't get hold of any more!

In the home of the Turner Bequest, it naturally has a great selection of books about Turner and his art. It also has an extensive selection of books about the artists who formed the PreRaphaelite Brotherhood and other British painting groups such as The Camden Town Group of artists.

There's also a section devoted to art instruction books. Although it has some good books for both adults and children, I found it less impressive than the similar section at The National Gallery Bookshop. You can see from this photo the type of books it's stocking.

Art Instruction Books for adults and children

A basic set of art materials are also on sale in the shop. I bought a couple of their sketchbooks to try when I was there - the Green Landscape Sketchbook and the Postcard Sketchbook

There is also an online shop for all books and products sold by Tate Shops - including those at Tate Modern, Tate St Ives and Tate Liverpool

Overall, I recommend this bookshop to anybody who likes the art found in the galleries at Tate Britain.

You can find my other reviews of art bookshops in London on Art Bookshops - Resources for Artists

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