If you go to the RA (and aren’t distracted by the chicken trucks), then go to the top floor by the Sackler Wing and see if Richard Deacon’s selection of RA diploma pieces is still there. Bracketed together by Deacon’s choices there’s a subtle and varied set of sculptures which I actually enjoyed more than the exhibition I’d been to see. From the classical to the avant garde, through marble to terracotta, metals, paint and rough to smooth there as something for every eye.

All photos October 2017.

Round 1 at The Met

I can’t really say that I did the Met, but I think that it did me, on two consecutive days.







All photos by me, from top to bottom: The sculpture gallery; a screen by Jean Dunand from 1925-26; the Louis of France, the Grand Dauphin by Francois Girourard; a 2nd century painting from Roman Egypt and a Byzantine mosaic; one of the period rooms in the Met; Venus and Aeneas by Jean Cornu; a floral still-life in carved lime wood from 1784; another period room rescued from a French chateau; the American Court; Amor Caritas by Augustus Saint-Gaudans; two paintings by Sargent (including details of the three Wyndham sisters); Maurice Prendergast Central Park; another period room; Europa and the bull in the sculpture court; the entrance hall.


I’ll be posting more from my Open House London adventure shortly, but one of my favourite things is the way it opens up even familiar bits of London to appreciation. I’d known about the Guildhall for a long time – a friend of mine used to have end of term assemblies in there – but never been in.


Approaching it by St Lawrence Jewry, we passed the fish pond where Elizabeth David used to bury her bottles of wine to cool for lunch when researching, and came out into this courtyard.




It’s a great example of the Romantic Modernism (to borrow the title of Alexandra Harris’ book) that sprung up in the 40s and 50s. A generation of artists, architects and writers – some of my favourite children’s writers like ME Allan and Geoffrey Trease among them – set out to consciously revive the “strength” of medieval and Tudor history, regional folk traditions and Englishness. The artwork of David Gentleman at Charing Cross, which I’ve posted here before, is another example.


In this case, the concrete canopies evoke jousting pavilions, the tents at Agincourt and the mullioned windows of Tudor houses. All this is the most glorious contrast to the full Gothic gloom inside the hall, a dark space that belongs right in the atmosphere that the recent screenplay of Victoria sought to convey.



I didn’t know who all the memorials were to, but the ones to Wellington and Nelson were clear enough. The carvings at the base show the last charge at Waterloo and the British fleet respectively.


Also inside the complex are a collection of Royal banquets – this is the Coronation lunch in 1937 by Frank O’Salisbury. Love those hats!


The gallery as a whole is worth a trip by itself, but we didn’t have time. Photos above of the collection, all September 2016.