Get us in your inbox

100 best paintings large edit

The 100 best paintings in London

Leading artists, gallery owners, curators and critics pick the best paintings to be seen in the capital

Written by
Time Out London Art

What are your favourite paintings in London? That's the question we put to some of the biggest names in the art world, thinking we'd get a 100 or so pictures to write about in response. We encouraged people to think creatively about the term 'painting' – we're still figuring out whether Marcel Duchamp's urinal counts – and made it clear that we were after their absolute favourites: not the works they thought they ought to like, but the ones they genuinely love and return to again and again. We were overwhelmed by the results: more than 600 paintings were nominated, covering a period of more than 1000 years.

After utilising a crack team of data analysts to crunch the numbers (okay, a Google doc and some simple maths), we're thrilled to announce 'The 100 best paintings in London', a definitive countdown drawn from the capital's permanent collections including the National GalleryTate BritainTate Modern, the Courtauld Gallery, the Wallace Collection, the Imperial War Museum and the V&A. It features some of London's finest masterpieces, such as Holbein's 'The Ambassadors', Rothko's 'Seagram Murals' and Gauguin's 'Nevermore'. But there are some real surprises, too – no Van Goghs made it into our top 100; there's a single Constable sketch rather than a classic like 'The Hay Wain'; hardly any Turner but lots of Rembrandt

Most of the works are on display right now; inevitably, though, a few are on loan to institutions around the UK or abroad, or temporarily in storage. So, get out there and start ticking them off. You're living in the most exciting city for painting in the world. 

Produced by Elizabeth Darke. Written by Martin Coomer, Freire Barnes, Eddy Frankel, Chris Waywell, Ananda Pellerin, Gabriel Coxhead, Nina Caplan and Peter Yeung.

Count down London's 100 best paintings