Spring-Summer 2017 at Somerset House

  • Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent, a major exhibition showcasing contemporary perfumes shaping scent culture
  • A celebration of games and play with Now Play This and Game Changers: Another Way to Play
  • Mat Collishaw: Thresholds, a new VR artwork recreating an 1839 photography exhibition
  • Summer Series at Somerset House with American Express
  • Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House


Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent [21 June-17 September 2017]
East Wing Galleries, £11, £9 concessions

A new, multi-sensory exhibition which invites visitors to experience a vibrant new scent scene. This major show presents ten extraordinary perfumes – and the pioneering perfumers who created them – from the past two decades, which are shaking up scent culture today – from the way they are made to the way we wear them. Featuring the likes of Antoine Lie’s Sécretions Magnifiques for État Libre D’Orange, Geza Schoen’s Molecule 01 for Escentric Molecules and Charcoal by Lyn Harris for Perfumer H, this emerging group are pushing perfumes into more daring olfactory and cultural directions, which visitors will discover by immersing themselves into the smells and stories of the scents. The exhibition will also feature a fully functioning and open perfume laboratory, where visitors can interact with and get instruction from professional perfumers.
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Now Play This [7-9 April 2017] & Game Changers: Another Way to Play [7 April-7 May 2017]
New Wing, £8, £6.50 concessions & Terrace Rooms, free entry

In April, Somerset House will host a month-long celebration of games and play. It opens with Now Play This, a three-day gaming weekender filled with a host of hands-on opportunities for visitors to get involved, from two-player board games to interactive multiplayer installations, outdoor activities to experimental video games. Throughout the month a free exhibition, Game Changers: Another Way to Play will explore evolutions in game design, showing how designers and artists continue to adapt and reinvent familiar game mechanics in new and imaginative ways.
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Mat Collishaw: Thresholds [17 May-11 June 2017]
River Rooms, £4.50, £3.50 concessions

Somerset House and Photo London, in collaboration with Blain|Southern gallery, present Thresholds, a new virtual reality artwork by internationally acclaimed artist Mat Collishaw. Using the latest in VR technology, Collishaw is set to restage one of the world’s first major exhibitions of photography for contemporary audiences. The experience will be a fully immersive portal to the past, allowing visitors to walk freely throughout a digitally reconstructed room and touch the bespoke vitrines and fixtures. Infrared sensors will track visitors’ movements, creating ghostly avatars that indicate their positions.
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Summer Series at Somerset House with American Express [6-16 July 2017]
The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, Tickets start £29.50 (+booking fee)

Set in one of central London’s most iconic gig locations, Summer Series at Somerset House will return for eleven nights in July, bringing fans a spectacular line-up of established and emerging artists. This year’s festival will continue Somerset House’s commitment to showcasing a diverse mix of truly world-class talent, including Damien Marley, Warpaint and Songhoy Blues.

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House [August 2017]
The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court

Each summer, The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court hosts London's most beautiful open-air cinema – Film4 Summer Screen. A highlight of the city’s summer calendar, 2017 will see a host of premieres, critically acclaimed titles and cult classics screened in the open air on a state-of-the-art screen with full surround sound.



Somerset House Studios: March-June highlights
This spring, Somerset House Studios presents a diverse new programme of events. These include Dismantle Yourself, a night of experimental dance floor focused electronic music in The Deadhouse; Jamila-Johnson-Small and Sara Sassanelli’s travelling critical discussion evening, HOTLINE; a new commission from performance artist Sadie Xa, and workshops on modular synth programming and making music with code.

John Gerrard: Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) 2017
The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, free

Commissioned by Channel 4 for Somerset House on the occasion of World Earth Day, artist John Gerrard has created a new life-like simulation of a flag, which is formed by endlessly emitting trails of thick black smoke. Flying silently on a large screen in The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, the flag is placed on a pole in a perfect, real-time replica of a salt dome field in Spindletop, Texas. The site is considered to be the birthplace of the modern oil industry.

Syngenta Photography Award Exhibition [9-28 March 2017]
West Wing, free entry

The Syngenta Photography Award Exhibition will bring together 92 images from 43 professional and amateur photographers, representing 22 countries around the world; each depicting powerful responses to the theme of Grow-Conserve. The winners of the 2016-2017 edition will be announced on 8 March at an award ceremony taking place at Somerset House.
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Sony World Photography Awards & Martin Parr - 2017 Exhibition [21 April-7 May 2017]
East & West Wing, Tickets from £7

The Sony World Photography Awards & Martin Parr - 2017 Exhibition will bring to London a complete celebration of the medium of photography - showcasing rich and fascinating photographic stories from key figures and emerging talent of the photography scene today. The large-scale exhibition will include three rooms dedicated to the life and work of internationally renowned British photographer, Martin Parr, who is the recipient of the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards’ Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize.
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Photo London [18-21 May 2017]
Site-wide, Day Pass £27, £20 Concessions, Weekend Pass £40
87 of the world’s leading galleries will converge at Somerset House to exhibit at the third edition of Photo London. Photography specialists will be joined by leading contemporary galleries including, for the first time, Victoria Miro, Sprüth Magers and Alison Jacques Gallery, and an expanded Discovery section will showcase emerging talent. Taryn Simon, announced as Photo London Master of Photography, will have a special exhibition of her work on-site, and the public programme will also feature exhibitions of work by Isaac Julien, Juergen Teller and Magnum Photos.
Read more.

AOI World Illustration Awards 2017
Embankment Galleries, free entry

The AOI World Illustration Awards exhibition will return to Somerset House in August, showcasing highlights from this year’s shortlist of contemporary illustration, entered by some of the best emerging and established illustrators from around the world.


Somerset House presents a diverse range of learning and participation events throughout the year aimed at all ages. The programme includes talks, screenings and workshops that often coincide with the rich cultural programme of exhibitions and public projects at Somerset House.

Wild Life Drawing: Exotic Mammals and their Habitats
5 April, 11.00–13.00 & 14.00–16.00
New Wing, £25 (joint ticket for 1 adult + 1 child, 8 -12 years old to attend)

This Easter, Wild Life Drawing will welcome a variety of exotic animals to Somerset House, including skunks, sugar gliders, Pygmy hedgehogs and a ground squirrel named Pringle. Classes will be introduced to each of the animals by an expert animal handler and led through a series of fun drawing exercises by tutor Jennie Webber.

Free Family Workshop: The Memory Machine
3 June, 12.00–
South Wing, free

In celebration of London Festival of Architecture 2017, Somerset House will host a free family drop-in workshop in collaboration with London School of Architecture. Visitors will be invited to collectively build maps of the city drawn from a brain bank of memories, expressing London's liveliness, leisure and life forms through a mixed media creative project.


Reading Drawings [21 January-4 June 2017]
The Courtauld Gallery

This display examines the intriguing variety of inscriptions that can be found on drawings, from artists’ signatures to casual notes and records of ownership. Featuring works by Canaletto, Corot, Signac and others this selection reveals how such annotations can shed light on the purpose, history and use of drawings.

Bloomsbury Art & Design [18 February-24 September 2017]
The Courtauld Gallery

The Courtauld Gallery cares for an important collection of early twentieth century Bloomsbury Group. This special display brings together a wide-ranging selection of works including paintings, collages, drawings, watercolours and designs and decorative arts from the Omega Workshops. Most of the collection was bequeathed by Roger Fry to the newly formed Courtauld Institute of Art in 1935; Fry was the central figure of the group, which included artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell.

Dear Diary: A celebration of diaries and their digital descendants [26 May–7 July 2017]
Inigo Rooms, King’s College London, free

Appointment diaries and apps help us manage time, but what do we do with it? Diaries show how work, health, love, family and friends occupy us in different ways. Bringing together manuscript and online diaries, from pre-modern almanacs to the latest trend of life logging, this exhibition - a collaboration between King’s College London and the Great Diary Project - celebrates diaries and the many ways in which diarists capture the human experience.

Somerset House offers a wide range of cafés, bars and restaurants onsite. From April – September, Somerset House’s riverside bar The Terrace will return, this time in partnership with Peroni Ambra, the latest drink offering from the Italian brew masters, which combines the rare and authentically Italian citrus fruit Chinotto with Peroni.  In the new look bar, inspired by the Chinotto orchards of North West Italy, guests are invited to discover the authentic tastes and rare ingredients of Italy, from the exclusive Peroni Ambra infused cocktails created by award-winning Master of Mixology Simone Caporale to the cicchetti menu curated by Francesco Mazzei.  In addition, during Summer Series and Summer Screen, Peroni will capture the essence of Italy by transforming the Enhanced Bar, situated in the West Wing Galleries next to the courtyard action.

In Somerset House’s New Wing, Skye Gyngell’s Spring restaurant has recently launched a new ‘Scratch Menu’ – a 3-course, £20 set menu designed to combat food waste, crafted using seasonal scraps from Spring’s a la carte menu. During Photo London, the ‘Scratch Menu’ will be showcased at TABLE, a community eating house running 17-21 May. A new programme of events, The Salon Series, consisting of varied panel discussions, debates and masterclasses, will be running throughout the year in The Salon at Spring – the restaurant’s atrium and bar. Also located in the New Wing, Pennethorne’s is open from breakfast through to cocktail hour and beyond, offering a collection of coffees, cocktails, wine and craft beers.

Fernandez & Wells offers a regularly-changing menu of tapas and light bites, including cakes, coffees and organic wines. Michelin-starred chef Tom Aiken’s Kitchen serves a seasonal British menu of comfort-food favourites for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, while Tom’s Deli offers a selection of fresh sandwiches, salads and snacks to eat-in or takeaway.



For press enquiries please contact press@somersethouse.org.uk or 020 7845 4624


Notes to Editors:

Opening Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 10am - 6pm; Thursday-Sunday: 11am - 8pm. May vary, check website for details before your visit.
Address: Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Transport: Underground: Temple, Embankment / Rail: Charing Cross, Waterloo, Blackfriars
Website: www.somersethouse.org.uk                                
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SomersetHouse
Twitter: @SomersetHouse                              

About Somerset House
A unique part of the London cultural scene, Somerset House is an historic building where surprising and original work comes to life. From its 18th-century origins, Somerset House has been a centre for debate and discussion – an intellectual powerhouse for the nation. Somerset House is today a key cultural destination in London in which to experience a broad range of artistic activity, engage with artists, designers and makers and be a part of a major creative forum – an environment that is relaxed, welcoming, and inspirational to visit while providing a stimulating workplace for the cultural and creative industries. 

Since its opening in 2000, Somerset House has built up a distinctive outdoor public programme including Skate, concerts, an open-air film season and a diverse range of temporary exhibitions throughout the site focusing on contemporary culture, with an extensive learning programme attached. In October 2016, Somerset House launched Somerset House Studios, a new experimental workspace connecting artists, makers and thinkers with audiences. The Studios provide a platform for new creative projects and collaboration, promoting work that pushes bold ideas, engages with urgent issues and pioneers new technologies. Somerset House is also one of the biggest community of creative organisations in London including The Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art, King’s College London Cultural Institute and over 100 other creative businesses. It currently attracts approximately 3.4 million visitors every year.