What's On in London: May 2023

This May, our culture focus in on art, here’s what to see in the Capital

The Gallery


Weightless. 10-14 May

Hampstead gallery Maud & Mabel are heading south during this month’s London Craft Week to present a group exhibition featuring works from six talented artists who offer a delicate and intimate understanding of their respective mediums. Whether they are fashioned from clay, wood or metal, the works are bound by a common theme of weightlessness.

Gallery 12, 4 Cromwell Place, SW7 (maudandmabel.com)

Royal Society Portrait Painters

Shadbolt Daniel Catherine


Royal Society of Portrait Painters. 4-13 May

This month sees the 132nd edition of this annual celebration of contemporary portrait painting, a veritable institution in the Capital’s art scene. Not only will works be available to buy, but all showing artists can be privately commissioned, too – a family heirloom for future generations? This year’s theme is clothing, bringing a stylish, sartorial element to the proceedings.

Mall Galleries, The Mall, SW1Y (020 7930 6844; mallgalleries.org.uk)


Photo London ExhibitionLeft: Carlos and Jason Sanchez Border Crossing 2022. Right: O Gallery Kaveh Kazemi


Photo London. 11-14 May

Over 110 exhibitors from 48 cities worldwide are featured in this deep dive into the medium of photography, now in its eighth edition. “It is wonderful to once again be able to welcome galleries from China, Peru, Japan and Australia, and we’re thrilled that even from Iran, artists and galleries have found ways to participate,” say founders Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad. Inspiration on a global scale.

Somerset House, Strand, WC2R (photolondon.org)


British Museum

© The Trustees of the British Museum


Luxury and Power: Persia to Greece. 4 May-13 August

The Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery plays host to this major exhibition, which examines the complex relationship between luxury and power in the Middle East and south-east Europe between 550-30 BC. Immerse yourself in exquisite objects from ancient Iran, Athens, and the world of Alexander the Great.

British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B (020 7323 8000; britishmuseum.org)


Affordable Art Fair


Affordable Art Fair. 11-14 May

With a huge choice of original artworks to suit every style, taste, space, and budget, it’s little wonder this Hampstead Heath fixture is more popular than ever. Here, you can discover the joy of collecting, or add to your existing haul. And the clue’s in the name: prices start from just £50 and are capped at a relatively modest £7,500.

Lower Fairground Site, Hampstead Heath, NW3 (affordableartfair.com)