Return to Galleries and Museums

Published: 08/06/2021

A celebratory birthday weekend in London was the perfect excuse to visit some favourite places.

Beginning with a very empty Queen’s Gallery, I enjoyed seeing again the Rembrandts (remember ‘The Shipbuilder and his Wife’, mentioned by Barbara Askew?), the Rubens self-portrait, the Vermeer and Claude Lorrain. The pictures have come out of the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace because of the re-furbishment.

An early start the next day took me Tate Britain to seek out the Walter Sickert mentioned by Nicola Moorby. Moving through a glorious route of English gems, I found ‘La Hollandaise’ but sadly, not ‘L’Ennui’. I also explored the many Turner galleries and enjoyed the Henry Moore sculptures (all rooms were sparsely populated).

That afternoon saw me at the Soane Museum in Holborn to see the new exhibition ‘The Romance of Ruins’ which focuses on the expedition in 1764-6 to Ionia, now Turkey, to sketch the ancient ruins. These watercolours are beautifully evocative and influenced our architects in the neo-classical style.

Last but not least, the British Museum’s Nero and Thomas Becket exhibitions saw me queuing early; the Nero exhibits were well spaced out (wonderful statues from Rome) but the Becket was very busy at midday, much smaller rooms, although stunning exhibits including stained glass windows and caskets.

Such joy to be out and about in London again but, yes, I returned exhausted!

Debbi Clifton