Christmas shopping:gift ideas and unique homeware from London's top museums and galleries

If you're still searching for last-minute gifts, why not pop into some of the capital's top museums and gallery shops to pick up unusual and very well-priced homeware you won’t find elsewhere.

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London’s museum shops are really raising their game. The wonderful V&A has had a terrific shop for years, and still excels; but it’s the small museums that are catching the eye.

For innovative and unique things — specially commissioned, or collectables relating to an ongoing exhibition — most London museums and galleries have a shop offering well designed, very well-priced homeware you won’t find elsewhere.

From specially commissioned ceramics alongside the Jewish Museum’s current show of Edmund de Waal, to Rodin-inspired sculpture and porcelain at the Courtauld Gallery shop, to complement its beautiful show of Rodin watercolours; to amusing nautical things at the National Maritime museum; casts based on its wondrous collection at the Soane Museum, or lovely historic and mid-century modern items at the Geffrye museum of the home, it’s all here. If you can’t find a Christmas present worth having among this lot, even Lapland won’t help you...

1. The Geffrye Museum: Shoreditch, E2

The Geffrye, Museum of the Home in East London ( has some specially designed things, many picking up on the stylish mid-century modern look. A dinky enamel measuring jug (£14.95) and Modern Home set of side plates (£22.50) are great. Wild & Wolf’s range of chopping boards with wonky handles, hand-cut from London plane trees, are a perfect gift and very desirable (£40-£60 depending on size). Totally adorable, a box of hand-made wooden biscuits that look edible in a cute box for £12.50, or a Pavane plant pot, 18cms tall, for £24.95. 

The Geffrye Museum of the Home: a box of handmade wooden biscuits that look edible in a cute box (£12.50)

2. Sir John Soane's Museum: Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2A

The Soane Museum shop ( always has wayward and wonderful treats reflecting its original quirky 18th century owner, Sir John Soane. Reproductions of casts in his famous collection include a knockout River God Mask cast by Haddestone – it’s big, 585cms high, and well priced at £343. But there’s also a cute lion, 21cms long for £29. Corinthian bookends teach you something for £150 a pair. It also does Ionic. The Fanny the Dog tea set is sweet, and unique. Fanny was Mrs Soane’s beloved dog. The teapot costs £75. 

The Soane Museum: Fanny the Dog tea set, the teapot costs £75. Buy it here

3. Jewish Museum: Camden, NW1

Top picks at the little-known Jewish Museum in Camden ( — the only one that doesn’t yet have a shop website, so drop in, it’s well worth a visit — include really beautiful handmade ceramics by David Cohen, who does raku plates from £350-£700; Antonia Salmon’s work (£180-£310), including a magical curvy Dervish bowl, and Janet Haig’s mysterious organic looking vases with lovely glazes. Its handy sized trays, one with an old sepia print on it (£18), are great, and there’s plenty more.

Jewish Museum: Janet Haig’s vases with lovely glazes

4. The Courtauld Gallery: Somerset House, Strand, WC2R

The Courtauld Gallery Shop under the portico at Somerset House on the Strand, from where you can also watch the open-air skating in the courtyard, is full of treats, often more than are on the website ( To accompany its exhibition of Rodin and Dance there’s a unique porcelain vase hand-painted by Mia Sarosi (£35), inspired by the exhibition. Hugely collectable, and fun, is a very saucy cup and saucer with a fine Rodin watercolour of a nude coyly concealed under the cup (£25). Other dance-inspired delights include beautifully tinted resins cast from Edgar Degas’s original sculptures of dancers, for £295-£345. Or choose a print from its 40,000-strong collection, from £25-£35.

The Courtauld Gallery: a cup and saucer with a fine Rodin watercolour of a nude coyly concealed under the cup. It costs £25, buy it here

5. The National Maritime Museum: Greenwich, SE10 

The National Maritime Museum ( is one of the trio of museums at Greenwich. A fabulous building and a great museum. It’s  easy to get to on Jubilee or Overground. It’s made a special effort with nautical offerings.  Great for the homeworker - a wooden desk tidy for just £40. Monkey-fist door stop puts a traditional nautical knot to excellent use — £40. Raise a smile by screwing an “admiral” plaque to someone’s bedroom door (£10), or get the sweet Nelson tree decoration, for £10. If you are on a budget, there are nice red enamel mugs, just the thing for your sailor’s rum - just a fiver.

The National Maritime Museum: this Monkey-fist doorstop puts a traditional nautical knot to excellent use. Buy it here

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