So you know how I'm always going on about alternatives to wallpaper and how big canvases are a great way to get colour/pattern/art on your walls? How about ordering one (or more!) from a museum shop? A lot of museums have a print on demand feature on their online retail outlets allowing you to choose from hundreds of image options in different sizes and finishes. The perfect way to find exactly what you want to adorn your walls. I'm recommending canvas prints because they are lightweight (and therefore easier to hang) and cost effective in large sizes, whereas the cost of framing large prints can be eye-watering. Sure, you can buy cheaper canvases elsewhere, but buying from a museum supports the work they do and you get some amazing choice, what could be better?
Here's my pick of the best along with a guide to who does what:
1. The British Museum - Best for prints and drawings. Canvasses are not available in all sizes and price ranges as it depends on the image chosen, but range from £50 for 50x 35cms cms up tp £115 for 100x 69cms. This print is Ohisa of the Takashima tea-shop by Kitagawa Utamaro.
2. The V&A - Best for pattern. Although they have a huge amount more on offer, if you're looking for pattern, this is your museum. Whether you want classic Arts & Crafts or a 50s abstract pattern the choice is huge. Canvases in 4 sizes from £75 (50cms) to £225 (125cms) This pattern is Furnishing Fabric by John Drummond.
3. The Fitzwilliam Museum - Best for Victorian, Tudor & Georgian paintings. Canvasses in 4 sizes from £25 (40x26cms) to £75 (100x65cms) This image is White Cup & Saucer by Fantin-Letour.
4. Birmingham Museums & Galleries - Best for Old Masters & Pre-Raphaelites (but I couldn't resist this beautiful William Morris fabric design) Canvasses in 4 sizes from £75 (50cms0 to £225 (125cms) This image is Printed Fabric Design - Tulip & Willow by William Morris.
5. Natural History Museum - Best for nature, from botanical drawings to abstract landscapes and photographs of amazing animals. Canvases in 4 sizes from £40 (27x40cms) to £80 (67x100cms)This print is Chachalascape by Gregory Basco.
6. The British Library - Best for maps, manuscripts, drawings & religious iconography. Canvas prints in 4 sizes from £45 (40x32cms) to £90 (100x80cms) This image is 'The Cittie of London' by an anonymous draftsman.
7. The National Museum of Wales - Best for British landscapes and portraits. Canvasses in 3 sizes from £45 (30x40cms) to £65 (50x70cms) This image is The Little Interior by Gwen John.
8. Tate - Best for modern paintings (although they have lots of classics too!) you can select from the permanent collection or temporary exhibitons, although canvas is not always an option for these. Canvasses in 4 sizes from £65 (30x40cms) to £125 (84x100) This image is Azalea Garden: May 1956 by Patrick Heron.
9. Ashmolean Museum - Best for Eastern Art (although the choice is huge!) Canvasses in 4 sizes from £55 (40x30cms) to £100 (100x75cms) This image Grylle of a deer like animal.
10. The National Gallery - Best for classic paintings, from renaissance masters to the impressionists and perfect for landscapes, still lives and portraits. Canvases available in 3 sizes from £35 (40x31cms) to £130 (100x78) This image is Lake Keitele by Akseli Gallen-Kallela
With up to 2000 images available as canvases per museum, there really is something for every taste and budget here. The fairly lightweight nature of these canvasses means hanging is easy, either using brass picture hooks (which leave only tiny holes) or with Command Picture Hanging Hooks, for an easy, removable hanging option.
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