Thursday, 28 August 2014

The big city

At the beginning of August I headed down to London for the day (not first class this time.....sob sob).  As I mentioned in my first post I have an interest in Art History and enjoy spending time in various galleries when I get the chance.  It's been several years since I have been to London but I was interested in the British Folk Art Exhibition in Tate Britain.  So with Fizz day care sorted I headed down south to visit the exhibition, lunch, a walk around London and a shopping trip to Loop.  

It was a horrible muggy grey day in London which, with the tourist season, made walking and tube journeys less then pleasant! How do people who work / live in London do it everyday?  After making my way to Tate Britain and having a cup of Golden Oolong tea I headed to the exhibition hall.   The British Folk Art exhibition shows a very different type of art to what many perceive and understand as 'Art'.  While some of the items on display can be described as painting (e.g Country Fete and Country Prosession painted around 1790) or sculpture (Chimney Sweep Trade Sign sculptured from wood) none could be included in notions of high art (art seen to be of a higher status then other forms of art by its religious / historical subject matter).  Originally the items on display would have been judged by academics as lowly status and not worthy of comment or display. It is only in recent times that the skill of the artists who made these objects and the art itself has been recognised.

As well as trade signs and some rather garish ships figureheads there were several rather stunning quilts and embroidery works on display. The Bellamy Quilt was embroidered by Herbert Bellamy and his intended wife Charlotte Alice Springall during their engagement. Unfortunately I was not able to take any photographs in the exhibition but the details in the quilt (the peacock for example) were as good as items in the Great Tapestry of Scotland (A first class day out in Edinburgh).  However, you could not get too close to admire the details of the quilt without an alarm sounding (guess who set it off...... many times)!

There is a short video by Martin Myrone the curator of the exhibition that includes the Bellamy Quilt if you want to have a look.  If you are interested in this type of thing it's certainly worth a look.  The exhibition is on in London until 31st August but then opens up at Compton Verney on 27th September 2014.

Following all that concentration I was in need of lunch.  On receiving recommendations from a very knowledgable and helpful colleague of Mr D I went to St John's Smith Square which is inbetween Tate Britain and the Houses of Parliament.   This former church is now a concert hall and the crypt is a wonderful cafe and restaurant. I had a very tasty lunch consisting of four different salads and a bottle of local ale.

However lunch and beer were my downfall as I lost all motivation to explore.  I did get to Loop which is near the Angel tube station, Islington.   Shock of shocks though I only bought buttons for my Lush cardigan...... no wool purchases!  This must be a first for me and Mr D didn't believe me when I got home!  There were lots I could have bought - Loop has a large range of American yarns and other yarns that I have never seen stocked elsewhere. They also have their own brand of wool.  It all looked very tempting as I walked around their two story shop admiring the sample knits on display.  I would heartily recommend Loop and both staff and fellow customers were super friendly.  We shared knitting disaster stories and the lady behind the till (I'm sorry but I didn't get her name) showed me how to magic loop - a skill I then used in my Lush Cardigan with great success so thank you whoever you are!

Before heading home a had my burrito fix at Benitos Hat in Kings Cross station.  Not being familiar with their sizing I had the 'brother' of burritos..... it was a bit on the large size! Was super yummy, I somehow managed to eat it all and washed down with a Mexican lager! 

So that was London....... I'm hoping to go back in a month or so to see a Lego exhibition which opens in September and then closer to home a Grayson Perry exhibition which has just opened at Temple Newsam

Have you seen any good art exhibitions recently? I would also be interested in hearing your recommendations for lunch / coffee shops in London as I never know where to start! 


  1. That does sound like the best kind of day! I'd already earmarked the Folk Art exhibition as a must see when it gets to Compton Verney (2hrs+ away from me rather than the 3hrs+ to London).

    Like you I often wonder how people can bear city living, and then I think of all the exhibitions I would so like to have seen but have missed because I'm tucked away in North Wales and I realise big cities aren't all bad. Maybe what I need is a lottery win and a 'flat in town!'

    1. I'm quite luckily as I live a thirty min drive away from the east coast mainline which makes things a lot easier. The trouble is to get cheaper prices you need to book in advance and I don't always hear about something until nearer the time.
      It's odd as some cities I really love and could imagine myself living there but London certainly got to be in that day!