Letter: Somerset House warren is art lover’s hell

Your critic Victoria Woodcock and some gallery owners may have been charmed by the intimate spaces of Collect’s Somerset House; but for many punters at the craft fair it was a bit of a nightmare, after the spacious halls and cohesive layout of previous shows (“There’s no place like home”, House & Home, February 26).

The confusing layout of the venue involved conflicting flows of pedestrians and heavy congestion of art lovers struggling to get close to their favorite exhibits. Booths or coffee tables were far too close together, with the rustle of bulky winter coats negotiating the cramped spaces threatening imminent disaster for invaluable (well, certainly expensive) value. art.

Perhaps the warren of small offices at Somerset House should have retained its tax inspectors or the indolent occupants of a newer circumlocutionary office.

Only the Strand frontage was designed to house art galleries – now occupied by the Courtauld Gallery. It was a relief to step outside in the winter sun to admire the majestic facades of architect William Chambers and the pretty dancing water jets of the modern fountain in the great courtyard.

Gavin Turner
Hanworth, Norfolk, UK


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Raymond I. Langston