The world’s first public art gallery, the small Dulwich Picture Gallery was designed by the idiosyncratic architect Sir John Soane between 1811 and 1814 to house nearby Dulwich College’s collection of paintings by Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Reynolds, Lorrain, Gainsborough, Poussin, Canaletto, Van Dyck and many more. Unusually, the collector Noel Desenfans and painter Sir Peter Francis Bourgeois chose to have their mausoleums, lit by a moody lumière mystérieuse (mysterious light) created with tinted glass, placed among the pictures.
Go outside and look at the lantern above. It's said to be the inspiration behind Giles Gilbert Scott's iconic red telephone box.
The gallery runs fantastic temporary exhibitions (additional charge) and free guided tours of the museum depart at 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. The cafe, in a modern extension near the main entrance, is a cut above the usual museum eateries.
The museum is a 10-minute walk north along Gallery Rd, which starts almost opposite West Dulwich train station. Bus P4 conveniently links the picture gallery with the Horniman Museum.