Square Mile
Menu Search

The coolest art shops and galleries in London

London has some of the coolest art shops and galleries in the world. You know the Tate and the National — but have you visited these eight brilliant venues? 

Proud Galleries

Looking to feed that post-lockdown creative spirit? But you've ticked off all the major players on the London art scene — yer Tates, yer Nationals, yer Haywards — and don't know where to go next?  

Fear not! We've rounded up a selection of London art shops and galleries that mightn't be world famous (yet) but are definitely worse a visit. Or multiple visits if you're lucky enough to live nearby. 

Namedrop any of these and you'll immediately establish yourself as someone who Knows Their Stuff. They’re so cool, we’re basically giving you a get-hip quick pass. These things are easily lost so be careful. And make sure you silence your phone so nobody can hear your ringtone is I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas.  

Now don that beret, pocket that notebook and sally forth! 

(OK, maybe leave the beret. But definitely take the notebook.) 

PROUD GALLERIES 

View on Instagram

Let's start off the list with its biggest name... Alex Proud launched Proud Galleries in 1998, a hotbed of pop culture photography and an edgy hipster’s wet dream. The gallery is an independent warehouse, intimate and vibrant. Wooden beams hang over chic leather sofas, giving the place a rawness. It’s like a gig venue that Joy Division performed in. Oh, and there’s a bar so you can drink champagne and stare at pictures of a decadent, mink-fur clad Mick Jagger. We recommend you check out Eric Swayne’s Swinging Sixties collection: “The Swinging Sixties, a cultural revolution of modernity and fun-loving hedonism, with Swinging London at the epicentre…”

32 John Adam St, Charing Cross, WC2N 6BP; Proud Galleries

DOMOBAAL 

View on Instagram

Established in 2000, Domobaal specialises in contemporary painting and sculpture. It’s in an old Georgian townhouse that was once a law firm. In Lothar Götz’ exhibition the walls are a kooky consortium of colour, and the juxtaposition of diplomatic office space and edgy ebullience is spectacular. Lothar Götz’ solo exhibition, Salvation, launches 27th November until 9th December, and again from 7th January to 6th February. Other exhibitions include the punkish Miho Sato and her evocative, minimalistic acrylic paintings, in Freedom.

3 John St, Holborn, WC1N 2ES; Domobaal 

OF CABBAGES AND KINGS 

View on Instagram

Set up in 2008, Of Cabbages and Kings is laid out retro and funky, like a 1950s American kitchen. It’s a gift shop that sells fine art and arts and crafts products. Named after a line in a Lewis Carroll poem (hence the weird name), the interior is as wonderful and quirky as the name suggests. There’s also a load of cool workshops to bring out your inner artist. 

127 Stoke Newington High St, N16 0PH; Of Cabbages and Kings

GREEN AND STONE

View on Instagram

David Hockney, Eric Clapton and Michael Caine are among many others who frequent this charming Chelsea Cross art shop. Established in 1934, the Baldwin grit flourishes 90 years on, as Green and Stone thrives through floods and deterioration. Its interior is unperturbed by any damage, physical or otherwise. It’s an enchanting little number, specialising in photo frames, and more recently developing into arts and crafts goods for serious artists. Pop in after lockdown for some in-house workshops and a cup of tea with the ever-so friendly owner, Heston Baldwin.

251-253 Fulham Rd, Chelsea, SW3 6HY; Green and Stone

OCTOBER GALLERY

View on Instagram

October Gallery is a major proponent of the Transvangarde art movement - spreading Western Avant-garde beyond the West. It’s responsible for giving platform to several hundred African artists, voices, intellectuals and poets. The space is bright white walls and shiny wooden flooring. Simple, spacial enough for its exhibitions. Benji Reid’s Laugh At Gravity is October’s forthcoming. It’s precisely as the name suggests. Images of women riding clouds; hipsters floating on stools - Reid’s self-portraits mesh paradisaical imagery with contemporary grit, and it’s truly wonderful. Photographer Robert Golden sums it up well: “His anti-gravitational mysteries, which fail to reflect the ‘real’ world as it seems to be, does what fine art can do in troubled times. He makes us smile.”

4 Old Gloucester St, Holborn, WC1N 3AL; October Gallery

L. CORNELISSEN & SON

View on Instagram

A specialist fine arts’ shop. Gouache, pigment, gilding materials -- L. Cornelissen will see you sorted for lockdown when creativity comes-a-knocking’. Stuff you won’t find in your run of the mill arts shop, the high-level service and 1920’s mystique vibe (think Harry Potter’s Ollivander’s - yes, seriously) will get the artistic juices flowing. It’s warm, friendly and quite magical.

105 Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3RY; Cornelissen

STUART R. STEVENSON

View on Instagram

Family run, cosy and welcoming, here you’ll get all you need and more. In the borough of Islington, Stuart R. Stevenson gets you gilding materials and others from a wide-range of brands such as Kaweco, Blackwing and Ampersand. A must-visit for all inspiring artists and a brilliant place to buy a few Christmas presents for the nearest and dearest. 

68 Clerkenwell Rd, Farringdon, EC1M 5QA; Stuart R. Stevenson

COB GALLERY 

View on Instagram

A pristine, open space, Cob is home to a cohort of up and coming influential artists. Provocative, distinctively and shockingly modern, Cob offers a diverse range of talent to peer at. Casper Sejersen’s photography exhibition is exemplar of Cob’s uniqueness. Exploding cars, playing cards, and picaresque scenery, Sejersen’s photography is an unparalleled blend of simplicity and rawness. There’s Scarlett Carlos Clarke’s upcoming ‘The Smell of Calpol On A Warm Summer’s Night’. Similarly direct and blunt in its delivery, Clarke’s exhibition is another fine example of Cob’s stellar choice of emerging talent.

205 Royal College St, NW1 0SG; Cob Gallery

Loading