Between the pressure of going out and pulling yourself out of a post-Christmas slump, New Year’s Eve can often be overrated.

Whether you dread going out on New Year’s Eve or enjoy an epic Hogmanay, we've put together a helpful Art UK guide on how to survive until 1st January.

Wear something nice

And comfortable – it’s post-Christmas feast time after all.

Self Portrait in Best Dress

Self Portrait in Best Dress 1970

Diane Ibbotson (b.1946)

University of Warwick

British artist Diane Ibbotson is known for her series of self-portraits, in which the viewer is invited to share an intimate moment with the artist, as she gazes at her own reflection in a bathroom. Ibbotson seems hesitant – perhaps she is also having second thoughts about going out…

Let your hair down

Or wear a statement pearl necklace?

Frances Howard (1578–1639), Duchess of Richmond and Lennox

Frances Howard (1578–1639), Duchess of Richmond and Lennox c.1621

Marcus Gheeraerts the younger (1561/1562–1635/1636)

Compton Verney

Frances Howard (1578–1639) was the daughter of the Duke of Norfolk and considered a great beauty at the Jacobean court. She famously eloped with Edward Seymour (nephew of Jane Seymour) in 1601, igniting her disgruntled former husband to write an angry letter to her in his own blood. Unfortunately it got lost in the post.

Have a drink... or two

How else will you survive all the small talk?

Spanish Woman Drinking Sherry

Spanish Woman Drinking Sherry 1890 or before

M. Castro (active late 19th C)

Sheffield Museums

Formerly believed to be painted by Manuel Castro (active before 1795–1805), this portrait of a young Spanish woman is now believed to be from the nineteenth or early twentieth century (see this Art Detective discussion for more details).

But don't succumb to peer pressure

Sometimes it's OK to go against the crowd.

Youthful Bacchus

Youthful Bacchus

Annibale Carracci (1560–1609)

Leicester Museums and Galleries

This painting by Annibale Carracci (1560–1609) shows Bacchus, the Roman god of agriculture, fertility and wine. In Italian Renaissance and Baroque painting, he is often depicted holding out a glass of wine to the viewer, with an expression of sheer intoxication. 

Dance the night away

There’s no harm in having a little boogie.

The Dance

The Dance 1988

Paula Figueiroa Rego (1935–2022)


This work by Portuguese artist Paula Figueiroa Rego (b.1935) shows eight figures dancing on a moonlit beach. One of her largest paintings at the time of its creation, Rego completed the work in London where she had moved permanently in 1976.

Take a break from the small talk

Sit by yourself to reflect on your new year's resolutions. Or even better, people watch.

Natalie Bevan, née Ackenhausen, Later Denny ('Supper, Natalie Denny')

Natalie Bevan, née Ackenhausen, Later Denny ('Supper, Natalie Denny') 1928

Mark Gertler (1891–1939)

National Portrait Gallery, London

In 1928, Mark Gertler (1891–1939) painted Natalie Denny after meeting her at a New Year’s Eve party. Later known as Natalie ‘Bevan’ after marrying the advertising executive Bobby Bevan, she was a painter, ceramicist, collector and muse to the artists of the London Group.

Probably don't kiss a stranger at midnight

This is rarely a good idea.


Idyll c.1908–1911

Laurence Koe (1869–1913)

Brighton & Hove Museums

This depiction of pastoral love is by the British artist Laurence Koe (1869–1913), who was mainly a portraitist but also a sculptor.

Know when it’s time to go home...

Most people have embarrassed themselves on New Year’s Eve at some point, but this year try not to let it be you.

Monks in a Cellar

Monks in a Cellar 1873

Joseph Haier (1816–1891)

The Wilson

Contrary to popular belief, friars and monks did drink alcohol. In fact, Champagne was invented by a Benedictine monk called Dom Perignon and chartreuse liquor was invented by Carthusian order monks. This painting by German-Austrian artist Joseph Haier (1816–1981) depicts drunken monks.

... especially if you are seeing double

Unless identical twins happen to be at the party.

This Elizabethan painting by an unknown artist was found in the collection of Thomas Cholmondeley (pronounced ‘Chumley’), explaining why the painting is known as The Cholmondeley Ladies. Due to the difference of their eye colours, the two women are believed to be sisters, not twins.

Otherwise you will feel like this the next day…

Yes – it will feel like death.

Memento mori

Memento mori 1794


Ferens Art Gallery

'Memento mori' paintings were designed to remind viewers of the fragility and brevity of human life – and in this case, your unrelenting hangover.

If you do survive till tomorrow, make sure you have a quiet place to nap

You’re going to need it.

Woman Reclining on Couch

Woman Reclining on Couch

Alfred Walter Bayes (1832–1909)

Newport Museum and Art Gallery

Walter Bayes (1832–1909) was a well-known British artist and founding member of the London Group, a society of artists established to challenge the domination of the Royal Academy of Arts. The sitter of this painting is unknown, although she clearly found having her portrait taken exhausting.

Step into the new year fresh-faced

Good Morning

Good Morning

T. Kurzweil

Okehampton Town Council

New year: new you. Shake off those cobwebs and greet the new year with a smile... (Is that a no-deal Brexit on the horizon?)

Lydia Figes, Content Creator at Art UK