The Museum Gift Shop

I have a thing for museum gift shops.  They are full of such wonderful delights, you never know quite what you might find in these treasure troves. I always enjoy a quick unplanned pop into a favourite shop, and I often come away with an unexpected gem.  I like that books on far ranging topics sit alongside silly nik naks artfully inscribed with a museum's name, and that there is always an excellent selection of postcards.  I am a great appreciator of exhibition themed objects, am often tempted by a print or a pretty ceramic, and really love a designer collaboration printed scarf or pair of earrings.

I also think museum gift shop shoppers are a friendlier type, the shops tend to be calmer, less bustle, more quiet browsers.Most museum websites are looking pretty smart these days too and are very enjoyable to peruse.  I often think working for one of these sites would be the perfect combination of old and new - discovering, choosing and commissioning exciting art related products for these venerable museums and galleries, whilst delving into the intricacies of ecommerce and analytics.Recently I admired a fantastic pair of earrings, which were made up of one white pearl drop and one black pearl drop. It turns out they are from the Metropolitan Museum's shop in New York, and are after Rubens's painting of Venus, in which she is wearing one white pearl earring and another 'black' pearl earring that can be seen reflected in a mirror. It is likely Rubens painted the pearl darker to show it in shadow, but I love the concept and I love the earrings, there is just so much scope for art themed gifts.Museum shops are also the perfect place to find all manner of Christmas related things - that advent calendar not yet bought, a Christmas decoration for a God child, or a interesting book for a cousin.  So below are my Christmas present museum gift shop finds, just click on the images to find out more.

Alice xxx

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery is one of my favourites, partly because Dulwich is very nice, and I love the setting of the gallery, but also because they always have interesting and fun collaborations.  The Tove Jansson exhibition is currently showing, and the shop is happily full of all sorts of Moomin creations.


The Tate has it all, I particularly like the shop in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, nice and spacious.

The V&A

A big favourite, great cards and great jewellery and the shop is located just off the sculpture gallery, so you can easily come back when you've seen enough of Canova and decided what you want.  Their Winnie-the-Pooh exhibition opens on 9th December, so even more of a reason to visit.

Royal Academy

I have to admit, I don't know if you can get into this shop without viewing an exhibition, but do go see Dali / Duchamp, it is on until 3rd Jan, and buy some postcards after, they always have good postcards.

The National Gallery

It's all about the shop on the ground floor of the Sainsbury Wing. While your there, nip up to the gallery to see the very distinguished Doge Leonardo Loredan by Giovanni Bellini who lives a couple of floors above.

The British Library

There are two shops here, to your right is current exhibition curiosities, to your left is the book shop, it's bigger than it looks, keep going.  And go see the exhibition, it's just up the stairs and is currently 'Harry Potter: A History of Magic'  - what more could you want.

I like the shop in the basement, there rarely ever seems to be anyone in there, lots of time for happy browsing and situated right next to the cafe. And Cézanne and his Portraits are currently on show, a must visit.

Situated right next to the Armoury Collection, ensure you have a wander around this museum first, there is a whole room of full of Venice paintings by Canaletto and Guardi, it's such a super place. Shop is small but good, there are two parts, so don't be disappointed if you don't find something in the first room, keep going!

I haven't been here for a quite a while but they have a shop, and if you haven't been to this museum you really ought to. It's close to Holborn and so fun, wind your way through this town house and Sir John Soane's absolutely incredible collection of so many things.

Online only, you can buy both prints and books, as well as image licenses of the UK's national art collection.  The best place to find an interesting lesser known print for that perfect Christmas present.

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Christmas Gifts

It is SO nearly Christmas ⛄️⛄️🎁🌲☺️ and I have almost finished my Christmas shopping, with only a few little things to find.I really do like shopping very very much, but even I dread the prospect of panic trawling the shops the day before Christmas 🎄 desperately hoping for inspiration.  The hoards of other people 👦👩, their children 👧, buggys and dachshunds 🐶 constantly getting in the way, the overwhelming amount of completely pointless STUFF 🎀💄👠 to sift through, and Michael Buble singing 'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas' 🎤everywhere you go is enough to make even the most experienced shopper wish they'd bought all their presents online 6 months ago 🙈.So, to help you out, I thought I would put together a few ideas for last minute present 🎁 shopping in London - whether you are nipping out at lunch time 🍴 tomorrow, or spending a day of shopping on Saturday, the key is to know exactly what you are looking for and where to find it ☺️.  I would also advise ringing in advance, don't fall into the trap of assuming the shop has the item in stock, just because they are displaying it on their website.Good luck, and happy speedy shopping.Alice xxxStocking FillersGo to Joy.  The shops are everywhere, and have all sorts things for girls, boys, random cousins and even your dog, don't be shy just get stuck in.  Books on silly and serious things, accessories at very reasonable prices, and  both useful and useless gifts.  Tiny stocking fillers will be near the till, and they have very good cards.ss16_gift_packshot6018For your SisterOliver Bonas is the place.  They have great not-t00-pricey jewellery, make-up bags, self-help books and scarves in fun prints.1079555_oliver-bonas_jewellery_amelia-travel-two-tier-jewellery-box-r7_3For your Great AuntZara Home is excellent - rather than giving her Duchy Originals biscuits again, choose something homely from Zara.  She probably hasn't heard of it, unless she of course is a proud older owner of #ThatCoat.6012703250_2_4_1Making it all look prettyPeter Jones.  You need to go to the 4th Floor, I would recommend entering from the King's Road and taking the lift to avoid the main Christmas mayhem.  They have one of the best selection of cards (they have the funny non-crude type), wrapping paper galore, and lots of ribbon. They also do an excellent selection of notebooks.235028854alt1 For your cousin who has just had her third childKikki K is great and they currently have a pop-up in Covent Garden.  I am totally sold on everything about this brand.  The perfect present for someone who enjoys stationery with inspirational messages, or needs a very specific diary layout.2017_a5_weekly_family_diary_inside_1To bring to Boxing Day lunchJohn Lewis Cheese Shop - you want to enter from Henrietta Place, go straight down the escalator into the food hall and on the right hand side is a wonderful room full of cheese, and they have all the right biscuits to go with it.231304693To Impress the In-LawsHumble Grape does very good wine, and the people working there know about wine, so this is ideal if you need a bottle quick sharp.  There is one in Battersea and one in Fleet Street.allimant_riesling Because you need something a little different this yearPotterton Books - books of all shapes and sizes, vintage and new, but more excitingly art work. They have prints and originals, big and small prices, you will definitely find something in this eclectic little shop.qzi2qjg3rum0nuyymduxndexneu6ymi1zmexogrjzwyzyziyotqzytkzmzg3zgy5mzg2mjm6ojo6oja Because you took After Eights last yearArtisan du Chocolat - there are so many great chocolate shops in London, so you really shouldn't be grabbing the most expensive looking chocolates off the shelf in Sainburies.  Artisan du Chocolat do all sorts of exciting things, and they taste great.  If you aren't near a shop nip into the ground floor of Liberty, entering from Carnaby Street and pick up a box of Prestat.gaia_sc_openFor your nephews and niecesTK Maxx, I know, I know, it sounds like agony - but it's just a quick nip in, grab what you want and out.  I would recommend the wallets / clutch bags, usually near the door on the ground floor on shelves - if you see Kate Spade buy it.  And the headphones, either on a table near the door or hanging up by the tills, not expensive, you might even find some wireless ones.36178010_large For your Aunt who is hosting ChristmasAppleyard London - bouquets and plants in pots, they do all sorts and they are still taking orders for Christmas.  Either take flowers with you or send as a thank you gift after.standard_azalea_1 For the Uncle with a beautiful homeAny bookshop, they do still exist.  Books are excellent, but don't just grab one at random, best to try and make it a bit personal.  A beautiful coffee table book is generally appreciated, as long as no one has to carry it too far.9780847848775The Intrepid GrandsonThe British Library - they currently have an exhibition on called Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line, and their shop is full of map type things.  They have two shops, one on the left as you enter and one on the right, have a look in both.9781781315323atlasimprobable The Irresponsible GodparentTrotters - for smaller godchildren (age not stature) this shop has everything wonderful.  You could stick with clothes or a book, or you could make it really very fun.mic_mm002_1__3For the hostThe Conran Shop - there are many pleasing things in this shop, so if you are prepared to browse, you are sure to find something very nice.967426-le-soleil-candle For your GrandmotherPentreath & Hall - this shop has charming things in all shapes and sizes - pretty card sets, notebooks, mirrors and stylish lampshades.  And make sure you drop into the Poplin pop-up shop next door, they have THE best pyjamas.adv19For the person who has everythingThe New Craftsmen - they have the most beautiful selection of handmade pieces all made by British Craftsmen, you will absolutely come out with the present the person doesn't already have.michael-ruh-the-new-craftsmen-chelsea-jar-4-1Something a little more specialSophie Breitmeyer - Don't just go to Pandora and buy another charm or buy the first thing the sale assistant suggests in Tiffany's.   Do visit Sophie Breitmeyer and choose one of her wonderful