|Taken from the National Gallery's What's On brochure|
So I walked from the Cut in Waterloo over Hungerford Bridge to the National Gallery because there is always something worth seeing there and last week I had been listening to Front Row on BBC Radio 4 where an interviewee had been raving about an exhibition that was worth visiting. It was only when I was sitting in the Espresso Bar reading the above leaflet that I remembered that the exhibition in question is on at the National Portrait Gallery just around the corner.
I decided that exhibition could wait until another day because by then my eye had spied that in 30 minutes there was going to be a 10 minute talk in Room 44 on Monet: The Thames below Westminster at 4pm. I liked the sound of this so sauntered upstairs to Room 44 and spent about 20 minutes enjoying the Impressionist paintings by Monet, Pissarro and Seurat's Bathers at Asnières which is vast. One of the paintings on display was of a cluttered mantle piece. It was a very ordinary and mundane view but somehow the painting raised it above its very ordinariness.
|My sketch of Monet's painting|
Four o'clock came and went and there was no sign of any one who looked like a speaker. People were milling around though in expectation and then someone said that the bus with the speaker on it had been held up so the talk was cancelled which was a bit disappointing. But I had spend more time than usual inspecting a few paintings and for the first time understood that Monet, Pissarro and Daubigny had all temporarily located to London to avoid the Franco-Prussian war that was raging away in France. So if it hadn't been for the carnage taking place on the Continent we wouldn't have these contemporary impressions of Victorian London.