Salvador Dali in his Diving Suit
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Salvador Dali in his Diving Suit

The scene of Salvador Dali's greatest London adventure!


In the early 20th century this corner of Burlington Gardens housed a grand art gallery called New Burlington Galleries.

It became famous for many classic shows but one in particular stood out. It was 1936 and June 11 when the International Surrealist Exhibition opened. It was a great success with over 40,000 visitors attending.

The eccentric Spanish painter Salvador Dali appeared here on stage wearing a full diving suit. It was supposed to illustrate his thesis concerning art's function of revealing the depths of the subconscious.

At one stage he appeared to be suffocating - and a panting Dali was hastily freed of his suit and helmet by the young poet, David Gascoyne and his spanner! The audience loved it supposing it was all a well-rehearsed act. It went down a storm.

Location: 5 Burlington Gardens, Piccadilly