Appreciating art with Westminster Venue Collection

A major exhibition of paintings by Vincent van Gogh – the largest collection of works by the artist to appear in the UK in almost a decade – closes at Tate Britain on Millbank on 11 August.

Some of van Gogh’s works may be moving on from Westminster when the EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain ends, but the good news is that there will be plenty of art left to appreciate within the area, with some prominent works on display at many of Westminster Venue Collection’s prestigious and unique venues.

Whether it’s perusing a famous portrait, taking inspiration from a celebrated work, or watching today’s talented artists in action, Westminster Venue Collection is proud to represent meetings and events spaces where art from the past and present is celebrated.

The Rag – Army & Navy Club
Those visiting Army & Navy Club for a meeting, conference or event, can catch a glimpse of the venue’s most prized art possession – a semi-nude painting of Nell Gwynne – among its extensive art collection. The oil painting ‘A young woman and child, as Venus and Cupid (1650-1687)’ by Peter Lely is often described as ‘Venus & Cupid’, but is widely agreed that it depicts Gwynne, the mistress of Charles II, who was rumoured to live at 36-39 Pall Mall. As well as hosting this famous portrait, the venue, originally a private club for military officers, offers opulent fine-dining facilities, sophisticated accommodation and excellent business and event spaces for up to 200 people.

The National Gallery
The National Gallery holds some of the world’s greatest paintings, with works by artists such as Turner and Monet attracting visitors from around the world. The gallery, which is proud to currently be loaning Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ for the EY Exhibition, is also home to 22 different event spaces available for daytime and evening events. Event organisers choosing to host their corporate event, private party or wedding reception under the roof of this iconic Grade I listed building can be sure to give their guests the most impressively creative of backdrops, while also contributing to the conservation of a collection of over 2,300 paintings.

The London Library
As well as offering numerous event spaces for hire and housing over one million books, The London Library is a major celebrant of art. The venue, spread across seven interlocking buildings in St James’s Square, currently has two artists in residence – Bob Matthews and Mark Harris. The pair began a 12-month Artists’ Residency at the venue in the spring where they intend to develop ideas and work inspired by the wealth of images buried within the books in the Library. Those visiting the venue until spring 2020 will be able to view six of their works as well as temporary displays of other artwork specially created for the Library, providing even more culture to discover in this intriguing venue.

Lincoln’s Inn
Cloaked in art and history, Lincoln’s Inn offers a gallery of paintings through the ages with masterpieces that have been collected over the past 300 years. Proudly taking centre stage in the Great Hall is one of Lincoln’s Inn’s most prized possessions – one of few remaining frescos in the UK, painted by GF Watts over a period of seven years between 1852-1859. The subject, ‘Justice: A Hemicycle of Lawgivers’, chosen by Watts himself depicts great lawgivers from history overlooked by three statues: Truth, Mercy and Justice. The painting, some 45 feet wide by 40 feet tall, serves as an impressive backdrop for banquets and events for up to 400 people.

Dartmouth House
Dartmouth House is adorned with artistic embellishment in almost every room. To complement the abundance of original features including a Robert Adams fireplace, stunning marble staircase and chandeliers; framed portraiture and landscape paintings line the walls. Above the venue’s grand staircase, a painted ceiling by French nineteenth century painter Pierre-Victor Galland depicts a striking mythical scene that instantly draws the eye upwards. Dartmouth House’s unique spaces can host up to 300 guests in the heart of prestigious Mayfair.

QEII Centre takes prime position in British politics as new Conservative Leader announced

The QEII Centre was once again providing the stage for one of the most anticipated moments of modern British politics as the new Tory leader was announced on Tuesday 23 July.

The result of the leadership ballot was announced on stage in QEII’s Churchill event space, where an audience of 500 Conservative Party members and press heard the official announcement that Boris Johnson will become leader of the party. Theresa May will now step down as Prime Minister, and the Queen will be asked to appoint Boris Johnson as Prime Minister on Wednesday 24 July.

Throughout its 32-year history, the QEII Centre has provided a stage for game changers and innovators, welcoming world leaders, heads of state, global icons and some of the greatest minds of the 21st century. The centre’s net economic contribution to the UK economy in 2017/18 was £145million, and its GVA to London alone was £110.9million.

With its location in the heart of Westminster, opposite the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, the QEII Centre and British politics have gone hand-in-hand, with numerous conferences, leadership announcements and major policy decisions being made at the centre.

Chief executive of the QEII Centre, Mark Taylor, said: “QEII has been the setting for many political and significant announcements. QEII not only offers an unbeatable location, but also has the gravitas needed for events of this significance, along with the capacity, facilities and security required. I’m proud to represent a venue that is at the heart of Westminster, at the heart of the British events industry.”

The rise of digital branding with IET London: Savoy Place’s digital content executive

IET London: Savoy Place has an award-winning in-house AV team of 8 event technicians including Sandra Mideros.

Sandra (digital content executive) studied audio-visual communication in Colombia, before moving to the UK to study graphic design. She’s been part of the team at Savoy Place for three years and largely looks after the content for 90 client-facing screens in the building, including an impressive 4k video wall in the foyer and screens inside and outside of meeting rooms.

Working a week or two ahead, Sandra creates, programmes and schedules content and playlists for screens. She also helps with the setup of many of the venue’s impressive AV capabilities, including live streaming a meeting or event from lecture theatres to other rooms in the building, creating social media walls to display live updates and even scheduling live TV to turn on automatically.

With digital branding on the rise (being cheaper and quicker to produce than printed materials), a lot of clients like to utilise the venues screens for branding or event information, like seating plans, agendas and guest speaker information.  The AV team only need a few days’ notice to create content, so last-minute changes are never a problem.

For further information on IET London: Savoy Place’s AV capabilities, contact the team on 020 7344 5479, [email protected].

St Martin-in-the-Fields gains AIM accreditation

St Martin-in-the-Fields has become AIM accredited – a highly acclaimed scheme for the meetings and events industry to recognise exceptional standards in venues.

AIM is the UK’s nationally recognised standard for venues and service providers in the meetings, conferences and events industry and has 50 strict criteria that venues must meet to achieve accreditation.

Securing AIM accreditation acts as a guarantee to buyers that when they choose St Martin-in-the-Fields for an event, they’re choosing a venue that cares about best practice and actively strives to meet and exceed their expectations.

St Martin-in-the-Fields has a range of practical and elegant spaces perfect for conferences, meetings, networking, dinners and receptions held in unique spaces from contemporary meeting rooms to an underground 18th century crypt. St Martin’s Hall’s AV setup includes a ceiling mounted drop down projector screen (233.8 x 132.0 cm / 16:9 wide screen ratio), ceiling mounted HD projector, corner mounted audio speakers and an AV Lectern with HDMI, sound and power ports.

Get in touch at [email protected] for more details or follow the venue’s new Instagram page at @smitf_venues.

The Royal Society is set to host exclusive September showcase

The Royal Society is inviting event professionals to its exclusive showcase on 10 September 2019 in celebration of its completed renovation works.

Over the summer the Royal Society has been busy transforming the Wellcome Trust Lecture Hall into a modern and contemporary space with upgraded state-of-the-art technology.

Guests will be invited to join the celebrations and experience the space for the first time on 10 September 2019, from 6-9pm.

Alfresco drinks and canapés will be served on arrival in the beautiful surroundings of Waterloo Gardens, followed by a taster of a new range of fun team experiences, which encourage clients to bring out their competitive sides.

The evening is a great opportunity to view the spectacular indoor and outdoor event spaces that the venue has to offer, network with industry peers and discuss any future event ideas with the team.

To register your interest for this exclusive event, please email [email protected].

Lincoln’s Inn hosts Sir Cliff Richard and Lesley Garrett at dementia charity concert

On 15 July, Sir Cliff Richard and soprano Lesley Garrett performed at Lincoln’s Inn during a fundraising dinner for dementia charity Lost Chord.

Held in the venue’s historic Great Hall, the evening commenced with a Champagne reception, followed by a fine-dining three-course dinner created by head chef David Bush and his team, before the intimate performances took place.

The event saw Sir Cliff Richard and Lesley Garrett perform together for the very first time, with all proceeds raised from the sale of tickets going towards the charity’s life-changing work.

Steeped in almost 600 years of history, Lincoln’s Inn offers an eclectic mix of indoor and outdoor spaces for up to 400 guests. The venue accommodates launches, shows, dinners, conferences and wedding receptions on its own private 11-acre estate in the heart of London. After three years of refurbishments and restoration, the Great Hall and Old Hall are now open and taking bookings for meetings, banquets and receptions.

For more information about hosting a concert at Lincoln’s Inn, contact [email protected], 020 7405 5969.

Church House Westminster hosts over 100 event professionals at annual afternoon tea party

On 28 June 2019, Church House Westminster hosted their annual afternoon tea party in the Bishop Partridge Hall which was attended by over 100 event professionals.

The theme for this year’s party was a vintage seaside look that featured colourful table covers, windmills, seashells as table decorations and navy-and-white striped deckchairs for occasional seating.

Entertainment included an interactive selfie frame, a playful end-of-pier photo cut-out and giant games for fun.

Elegant sandwiches, cakes, pastries and sumptuous scones were displayed in wicker baskets and upcycled frames to create an afternoon tea buffet.

Guests were welcomed with a glass of bubbly on arrival before they went on to explore the drinks station which offered made-to-order Aperol Spritz and Pimm’s, along with refreshing watermelon, lavender and cucumber coolers.

Near the balcony, the head chef of the venue’s catering partner, CH&CO, created an ice-cream bar with a carousel of toppings from fresh fruit to s’mores and hot fudge. Also on offer was pink candyfloss, a donut wall and flavoured popcorn in paper cones.

Guests made the most of the glorious sunshine out on the balcony, taking in the views of Dean’s Yard and Westminster Abbey.

Images of the Afternoon Tea Party can be viewed on the venue’s Flickr gallery –

Contact [email protected], 020 7390 1590 for more information.

116 Pall Mall’s most spectacular room undergoes refurbishment

116 Pall Mall has begun work on restoring its resplendent and most popular event space – the Nash Room.

This eye-catching room is famous for its turquoise walls, contrasted against pale pink and gold detailing and of course, the floor to ceiling royal portraits framed in gold.

Five of the portraits are being renovated by the Crown Estate, restoring them back to their former glory. The room is being repainted, the faux marble is being removed and the whole room will be refreshed ready for 1 September.

The Nash Room is the largest event space at 116 Pall Mall. Luxurious in style and steeped in grandeur, this 3,000 sq ft space comfortably welcomes 350 seated guests in conference style and 250 dining on round tables. It’s extremely versatile and has played host to numerous fashion shows, exhibitions and awards ceremonies.

In addition to this, 116 Pall Mall is also updating its reception area, installing £50k worth of new furniture, including plush new seating and a 50-inch 4k digital screen to inform clients of what’s on in the building.

The St James 1 & 2 rooms also recently underwent refurbishment, with redecoration to brighten up the spaces.

To arrange a tour, just make an enquiry on the 116 Pall Mall website here.