London is visited by millions of tourists every year. They come there to see the sights of London and to visit London’s museums. There are quite a number of museums and art galleries in London which are world-famous.
The National Gallery is situated in Trafalgar Square and is one of the best-known art galleries in the world. It was founded in 1824 and houses one of the most important collections of Italian paintings outside Italy. It is also famous for its Dutch collection, particularly for paintings by Rembrandt.
The National Portrait Gallery is situated near the National Gallery. It is Britain’s leading art gallery of portraits of famous people in British history. The National Portrait Gallery is noted for representing various kinds of portraits from traditional oil paintings to photographs. Founded in 1856, in 1984 it contained over 8 00 original portraits and more than 500 000 photographs.
The famous Tate Gallery was opened in 1897 with the financial support of Sir Henry Tate. He also gave a collection of 65 paintings. The Gallery contains a unique collection of British painting from the 16th century to the present day. Turner and Blake are particularly well represented in the collections. The Gallery also has many drawings and modern sculpture
Victoria and Albert Museum is a collection of fine and applied arts. It contains a great collection of miniature, too. It was opened in 1857 and was named after Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert.
The British Museum was founded in 1753. It contains one of the world's richest collections of antiquities. It also houses the main collection covering the history of plants, minerals and the animal world. There is also the Reading room of the British Library in the museum.
There are a number of museums in London which are neither art museums nor galleries. Nevertheless, they attract tourists from different parts of Great Britain, and of the world. You are sure to know about Madame Tusseau’s Museum. It contains hundreds of wax figures which are sculpture portraits of famous personalities - political figures, painters, musicians, sportsmen and even criminals. The Museum of London represents the history of the city from its foundation to its present day. The Museum of Moving Image illustrates the history of cinema.
In other words, any visitor can find a museum to his taste in London.
The sights – достопримечательности
Britain’s leading art gallery – известнейшая галерея Великобритании
To be noted for smth. – быть известным чем-либо
A traditional oil painting – традиционная картина, написанная маслом
An original portrait – оригинал портрета
Fine and applied arts – изобразительное и прикладное искусство
Miniature – миниатюра
An antiquity – древность
A wax figure – восковая фигура
A sculpture portrait – скульптурный портрет
The British Museum is one of the greatest and best-known museums in the world, both in the diversity of its collections and in their wide range and high quality. It was founded in 1753 by a decision of the Parliament.
The British Museum occupying a splendid great building, in the neoclassical or Grecian style, was erected between 1823 and 1847.
Of the 11 major departments into which the museum is divided, the 11 lost outstanding are the Assyrian and Babylonian, the Egyptian, and the Greek and Roman Antiquities. The last makes a particular contribution to the glory of the museum with its collection of sculptures from the Parthenon.
There are also extremely important ethnological collections, including exhibits from the Pacific islands (such as ancient Polynesian idols), and America (such as the Aztec sculptures). African civilization is also notably well represented.
There is a notable and priceless collection of medieval objects of art from all the countries of Europe. But the first thing which is associated with the British Museum is its Library.
The Library which is contemporary with the museum consisted initially of the collection of books belonging to Sir Hans Sloane. To this library the other collections of manuscripts and books as well were added as the royal library, which provided the foundations of what was to become one of the largest and most important libraries in the world.
The British Museum Library came into world prominence under us most remarkable librarian - Sir Antonio Panizzi, an Italian by birth, who had to leave his country because of revolutionary activities. Under his direction the library took on its present character. During the thirty- five years of service with the British Museum he formulated the rules and started the general catalogue.
The British Museum Library is a reading-room and a reference library, but not a lending library. The famous circular Reading Room of the Museum, planned by Sir Antonio Panizzi, offers unique research facilities to scholars
The collection of books is being systematically increased. Today there are millions of volumes in the library store-room.
Diversity – разнообразие
Contribution – вклад
Come into world prominence – получить всемирную известность
Reference library – библиотека без выдачи книг на дом, читальный зал
Lending library – библиотека с выдачей книг на дом, абонемент
Facilities – оборудование, условия
Store-room – хранилище, запасник
London is one of the most literary-minded cities in the world. It would be hard to think of a subject which has not got a library devoted especially to it.
Let us start with the highest library in London, the Capitular Library of St. Paul’s Cathedral. To reach it, you must be prepared for a long climb, for it is situated right up near the Whispering Gallery which encircles the base of the cathedral dome.
The origin of the library dates back to the seventh century, but all its books, with the exception of some books printed before 1500 and six manuscripts were destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The archives, however, were preserved. The Library was refunded after the Fire and the collection was built up again by gift and purchase during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The British Museum Library contains about six million books and the large circular Reading Room is in the centre of the Museum building. In the Reading Room is a reference section of 30,000 volumes on open shelves and also the catalogues for the whole library.
In 1841 the London Library in St. James Square was founded — a library of about 600,000 volumes, mainly devoted to the humanities and fine arts.
Guildhall Library founded in 1425, maintained by the City of London Corporation, is the largest public general library in London. It has a very extensive collection, including many thousand original records, relating to every aspect of London history and topography.
Each of the London boroughs maintains a public library service. Holborn’s Central Library, for example, is housed in a fine new building which was opened in 1960 and has attracted interested visitors from all parts of the world. It has over 150,000 books (lending and reference), as well as over 5,000 gramophone records of musical works and language instruction. 1960 also saw the opening of Kensington’s new Central Library, the largest municipal public library building in London.
Literary-minded city – город, заботящийся о литературном образовании жителей
Whispering Gallery – галерея шепотов
Dome – купол, свод
Purchase – покупка, приобретение
Circular – круглый
Reference – справочный (отдел библиотеки)
Humanities – классические языки, литература
Fine Arts – изобразительное искусство
Guildhall — Гилдхолл (здание paтуши Лондонского Сити)
Lending and reference – книги, выдаваемые на дом, и справочники (справочная литература)
There are over 220 professional theatres in Britain. The centre of theatrical activity is in London where are some 30 principal theatres in the West End and several more in the suburbs, but some important performances are taking place in the provinces.
The evening performances usually begin either at 7.30 or at eight and finish at about eleven. Seats are expensive and a night out at a theatre is quite a luxury for the average Englishman. Only a few theatres have their own permanent companies. Groups are formed for a season, sometimes even for a single play.
Regular seasons of opera and ballet are given at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Sadler's Wells, which has historical links with the famous Old Vic Theatre, which now houses the National Theatre.
Some theatres concentrate on the classics and serious drama, some on light comedy and revue, some on musicals Most theatres have a personality of their own: from the old, such as the Theatre Royal (the Haymarket) in the Hay market, to the very new such as the Mermaid Theatre in the City of London built on the banks of the Thames.
A visitor to London is always surprised when he sees the Royal Opera House standing almost inside Covent Garden, the city's great fruit, flower and vegetable market Because of its location it is usually referred to simply as "Covent Garden" and if someone tells us that he is going to Covent Garden on such and such day, we immediately think of the opera and not greengrocery.
The first Covent Garden Theatre was built in 1732. It was more a theatre of drama than opera. Yet many of Handel's operas were performed here for the first time.
The famous singers such as Adeline Patti, Terrazzo and Caruso sang here many times. The Great Russian Shaliapin also sang in the Covent Garden. Now the theatre is busier than ever: it is one of the few well-known opera houses open for eleven months in the year and it employs over 600 people both of the Opera and the Royal Ballet.
The Royal Opera House – королевский оперный театр
Covent Garden – Ковент-Гарден
Sadler's Wells – Садлерз-Уэллс (театр оперы и балета)
Theatre Royal – театр «Ройал»
The Haymarket – театр «Хеймаркет»
Mermaid Theatre – театр «Мермейд»