Photo Tour

  • Visitors enter the Yale Center for British Art, the four-storey, steel-and-glass building by American architect Louis I. Kahn (1901–1974), through a portico at the corner of Chapel and High streets in New Haven.

  • The building’s façade is comprised of glass windows and steels panels that Kahn referred to as “opaque windows.” These are flush with one another, yet separated by a reveal.

  • The skylit Entrance Court allows glimpses into the galleries on the second, third, and fourth floors above. Biolith, a limestone sculpture by Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) provides a focal point.

  • Unfiltered light streams into the four-storey Entrance Court, reminding visitors of the time, the season, and the weather outside. Elsewhere light is filtered in order to minimize exposure to works of art on view. Natural light and natural materials are prominent features of the building.

  • The Center’s 200-seat Lecture Hall is host to lectures and symposia, films and concerts, as well as Yale undergraduate and graduate classes.

  • The Library Court, on the second floor, is so named because it is surrounded by the Center’s Reference Library, its Rare Books and Manuscripts department, and its Study Room where works on paper can be seen and studied.

  • The walls of the Library Court are filled with paintings by the eighteenth-century British sporting and animal artist George Stubbs (1724–1806) whose work was much admired by the Center’s founder, Paul Mellon, Yale Class of 1929.

  • Following in the tradition of British country houses, full-length portraits hang on the upper tier of the Library Court. Openings into the courtyard afford views of the fourth-floor galleries.

  • As sunlight hits the white oak paneling, the wood takes on a warm glow.

  • Dort or Dordrecht: The Dort Packet-Boat from Rotterdam Becalmed by J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) is one of the great masterpieces of the collection. It was the first painting to be installed before the Center opened to the public in April 1977.

  • The permanent collection is displayed in fourth-floor galleries, whereas special exhibitions are shown on the second and third floors. “Pogo” panels, covered in natural linen, and strips of travertine on the floor, delineate the geometric grid of 20 x 20 foot bays that comprise the building.

  • Works by John Constable (1776–1737), including some of his remarkable cloud studies, are grouped in a single bay, lined with Belgian linen and carpeted in a natural hue. This intimate, skylit interior provides optimal viewing of works of art.

  • Comfortable furnishings in colors that complement the natural materials of the interior were selected by interior designer Benjamin Baldwin for the public galleries.

  • The Long Gallery, on the south side of the building, provides a space off the main galleries on the fourth floor for additional works to be shown.

  • The steel hand rail forms a square within the circular concrete stairwell. The ceiling of the stairwell is formed of glass bricks set in a concrete frame.

  • The museum shop offers visitors a selection of books, cards, and posters that relate to the Center’s collections, as well as gifts from the United Kingdom.

  • Wooden shutters line the windows of the Center. Viewed from the exterior, the window sizes reflect the functions of the spaces behind. Clerestory windows belong to library spaces where light must be kept to a minimum; two-thirds-height windows indicate office areas; whereas full-height windows are located in the public galleries.