Our 2007 UK and Europe Trip
22 Nov 2007
Today we are off to the National Gallery in London. The gallery is so extensive that paintings are displayed mainly in historic groups of 100 to 200 year spans starting in the mid 1200s. Initially we started in the 1500s and soon realized that most art in this time was of a religious nature and after seeing the genre repeated time and time again by various talented artists, we decided to move on to other periods. The gallery is very well patronized (free to the public) particularly by school groups most of who seemed genuinely interested in the pieces of art. It was also nice to see a number of artists set up with stool, easel and brushes, sketching or painting copies from the originals.
We were really enjoying ourselves until an alarm went off and continued and a voice came over the loud speaker. “A fire alarm has been activated and there is smoke in the building – The building is to be evacuated immediately – this is not a drill”. Shit – we’re out of here. It was all very calm and British with the staff well trained in the procedure and not at all like the fire drills Yvonne used to experience at schools. We joined the hundreds of patrons and staff in Trafalgar Square. A few police cars arrived, the odd siren on the street, a helicopter flew over a few times and after 30 minutes and no fire engines or smoke we were allowed back inside. When we were getting lunch at the museum café one of the staff said a fire alarm had been broken and with the amount of CCTV in the place, no doubt the culprit would be found.
We were enthralled by the art that is on show and particularly the well known artists’ works really stand out as exceptional. I had heard of the artist, John Hogarth, but had never seen his works and was extremely impressed by a series of 5 paintings telling a story of an arranged marriage. It was a very funny series of paintings. There was an extensive selection of Gainsborough’s paintings and it was immediately obvious that the best of the best of his work is on display here. The display of Van Gogh’s was exceptionally beautiful too.
Not all the gallery’s pieces were to our taste but it is well worthwhile visiting and with peak hour on the tube rapidly approaching and the gallery completed we headed back to Belsize Park.