The Tate Modern Highlights Tour

(6 customer reviews)

Entrance to Tate Modern on the West Side

Guided by Rick Jones

Walk Times

Day Walk Type Start Time End Time
Wednesday Weekly 2.30 pm 4.30 pm Winter Summer Reserve Online

The Tate Modern Highlights Tour is led by arts journalist Rick Jones, Secretary of the Critics Circle.

The tour begins at what is currently the only entrance to Tate Modern – outside the glass doors at the west end of the building.

Bring an open mind.

 Rick visits the big names in the gallery like Henri Matisse who created, on a vast scale, L’Escargot (the snail, above) in 1953 when he was too old to wield a paintbrush. It recalls the violent clashing colours of his ‘wild animal’ youth.

 Pablo Picasso is well represented in the gallery. Here (above) is his Femme Nue dans un Fauteuil Rouge (nude in a red armchair) of 1932. It’s a portrait of his lover Marie-Therese Walter dressed only in a green necklace.

To the Dutch, there was first Rembrandt, second Van Gogh and third Piet Mondrian whose Composition C (above) painted in 1935, is the ultimate in abstract purity and is seen today on handbags and fabrics all over the world.

Jackson Pollock was a drug addict and an alcoholic who in 1941 expressed his wild inner turmoil in Birth (above). Critics described his talent as ‘volcanic…unpredictable….raw…undisciplined’ and put him on the cover of Time magazine.

Then came Pop Art in the 1950s inspired by advertising, comic books and strip cartoons. The massive dimensions of Roy Lichtenstein’s Whaam (above) make it an ironic statement on the bald excitement of war.

To some, the entire art movement of the twentieth century might as well be thrown down the toilet – which makes Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (above) of 1917  strangely prophetic. All of these works and more you can see on Rick’s Tate Modern Tour every Wednesday at 2.30 pm until Easter (17 April 2022).



Short read: Greatest Show on earth in London.

Long read: “Tate Modern, take one, was the ordinary made extraordinary… A few years on the strangeness was cranked up a notch, with the arrival of one of the most enigmatic buildings London has ever seen.” As for the art… Surreal, kinetic sculptures. A year collapsed into a document of only six minutes and four seconds. Behold 2009 (steel car bumpers and 4,000 metres of human hair). Bodily deformations to express heightened emotions (Picasso). Warhol’s self-portrait. An archive of misunderstandings, crises and ambivalences. Hommage à Chrysler Corp. 1957. Salvador Dali’s hallucinogenic imagery and Freudian confession. A dreary hotel corridor that’s the setting for an unnerving scene of unexplained events.

Let alone Bonnard, Matisse, Braque, Magritte, Mondrian, Moore, Pollock, Lichtenstein, Duchamp…..

Blue Badge Guide and Secretary of the Critics Circle, Rick knows the art, knows his way round the “enigmatic building” it’s folded into.

Translation read: 1) best possible introduction to a landmark building and art that is a series of flashpoints across the last century; 2) crash course in modern art (know your Dali from the Dali Llama).


To go on the Tate Modern Tour meet the distinguished arts critic  Rick Jones – bears repeating, Rick’s the Secretary of the Critics Circle – outside the entrance of the Tate Modern. Said entrance is (currently) the only entrance to the Tate Modern. It’s the entrance that is fronted by glass doors at the west end of the building. Through those doors is the Turbine Hall – as entrances go, it’s surely the most spectacular one in London.

There is plenty more to learn about art in London so check out our artistic London tours.


If you can’t make one of the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, The Tate Modern Highlights Tour it can always be booked as a private tour. If you go private you can have the The Tate Modern Highlights Tour walk – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We’ll tailor it to your requirements. Ring Fiona or Noel or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at [email protected] and we’ll set it up and make it happen for you. A private London Walk – they’re good value for an individual or couple and sensational value for a group – makes an ideal group or educational or birthday party or office (team-building) or club outing.


A private London Walk makes a fab gift – be it a birthday or anniversary or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that’s special. Memories make us rich.


Don’t just take it from us.


6 reviews for The Tate Modern Highlights Tour

  1. James

    Amazing! I took this tour with my 13 year old. Neither of us know anything about modern art and I was worried it might be over our heads. But Rick was the perfect guide, providing context for each piece of art and making it accessible and engaging. So much better than just wandering around on our own. I can’t recommend it highly enough. And crucially, my son says the same!

  2. Marcy

    Rick’s Tate Modern Walk- this was an excellent overview of modern art and the gallery especially for someone new to the progression of art genres. Highly recommended, very worthy of an afternoon

  3. Lorene Hogan

    Fabulous introduction not only to the building itself but also to some of the highlights of Modern Art displayed in the gallery. Rick was eloquent, enthusiastic and thorough, and explained each of the paintings clearly setting it in its historical context. All we need now is for Rick to start an Art Appreciation course and recommend a list of relevant books for the uninitiated.

  4. Liat Hanuka Shfet

    An amazing tour. Rick’s knowledge kindness and sense of humor made our visit to the Tate unforgettable.

  5. Peter Deegan

    Excellent. Rick really does know his subject and communicates very well. Much appreciated.

  6. Dori Romem

    Visiting Tate with Rick was such an interesting and educating experience. So much knowledge and patience. Thank you so much.

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