Contemporary art in the Queen's House

Queen's House Part Closures

Visitor Notice: On Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 December, the Great Hall of the Queen's House will be closed to the public. The rest of the house, including the iconic Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I, will be open as usual.

Essential information

Opening times: 
Daily 10am - 5pm
Admission: 
Free
Location: 
Queen's House

The Queen's House is home to a rich collection of contemporary artwork on free display. These artists have responded to contemporary concerns of nationhood, migration, tradition, and life at sea in their own unique and diverse ways.

Dani Caxete

Caxete is a Spanish photographer and a past winner of the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, in which both professional and amateur photographs have the opportunity to share beautiful images of space, the night sky, and many different natural phenomena.

Find out more about the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Susan Derges 

Inspired by the Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, Derges' work uses cameraless photography. Capturing the symbolism of the moon and the motion of water, Mortal Moon is on display in the Queen's Presence Chamber. 

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Tacita Dean

In her series Teignmouth ElectronCayman Brac, Tacita Dean documents the state of the abandoned trimaran of Donald Crowhurst. An amateur participant in the 1968 Golden Globe race, Crowhurst achieved tragic fame when it was reported that he filed false reports of his progress, and ended up disappearing mysteriously at sea. Tacita Dean’s photographs of the remains of Crowhurst's trimaran beached in the Carribean serve as a forensic, memorial surrogate to his disappearance at sea.

Find out more about Donald Crowhurst's story

Paul Duke

Photographer Paul Duke’s At Sea: A Portrait of a Scottish Fishing Community is a series of portraits of men and women working in the Moray Firth fishing community on the North East coast of Scotland, shot on location in harbours, shipyards, factories and sheds between 2009 and 2012.

Photograph of Anna Sudnik by Paul Duke
Anna Sudnik, At Sea: A Portrait of a Scottish Fishing Community by Paul Duke

Tania Kovats

Kovats' Sea Mark is composed of panels of glazed ceramic tiles that together suggest a seascape. Her work reflects a preoccupation with the natural world as a site of encounter and transformation. Set in juxtaposition with 17th century blue and white Delfware, Sea Mark suggests the ways in which Kovats uses traditional art historical genres and media in order to raise concerns about humanity's increasingly troubled relationship with our natural suroundings. 

Sea Mark by Tania Kovats
Sea Mark by Tania Kovats © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Courtesy of the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London

Marian Maguire

Maguire is a New Zealand-based artist who draws upon classical mythology to help illuminate and problematize the history of colonialism in the Pacific. Prints from her series The Labours of Herakles are currently on view in the Queen’s House.

Christy Symington

Symington is a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors whose work focuses on representing overlooked or marginalized historical figures. Her sculpture of Olaudah Equiano, an important figure in the abolition movement, is set in dialogue with 18th-century naval portraits to explore notions of heroism, then and now.

Eric Toops

Toops is an American photographer who has received accolades for his astrophotography. His Mars Next to the Moon is on view alongside other artworks that reflect artists' preoccupation with the cosmos across different media. 

Tessa Traeger

Traeger is a well-known photographer who has worked in a number of genres, including still life and collage. Her series The Calligraphy of Dance was produced during a residency at Boughton House, where she combined notation from an 18th century calligraphic system used to record dance choreography with details from historic family portraits.

Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley's Ship of Fools makes visible not only the problems that confront contemporary migrants, but also the invisible legacies that informed maritime history and indeed the genre of marine painting.

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Image of Ship of Fools © Kehinde Wiley
Ship of Fools © Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy of Kehinde Wiley and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Richard Wright

For the first time since 1639, an artist has worked on the ceiling of the Great Hall of the Queen’s House, one of Britain’s most important historic interiors.Turner Prize winner Richard Wright has responded to the geometry and beauty of the Queen’s House with an intricate and unique design populating the nine formerly blank panels of the 12 x 12 metre ceiling.

Richard Wright's Great Hall fresco
Richard Wright's Great Hall fresco

Find out more about the Great Hall ceiling

Bettina von Zwehl

Bettina von Zwehl is an important contemporary photographer whose practice focuses on portraiture. As part of the Museum’s HLF-funded Armada Portrait Activity Plan, she took portraits of local young women in the style of Tudor portrait miniatures, drawing upon the visual legacy of portraits of Elizabeth I as a young woman.

Portrait miniatures courtesy of Bettina von Zwehl. Commissioned by the National Maritime Museum Greenwich
Portrait miniatures courtesy of Bettina von Zwehl. Commissioned by the National Maritime Museum Greenwich

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