|The London museum trail. Our hotel is marked with an "H". I neglected to mark the Tower of London, but it sits at the far right overlooking the Thames.|
The National Portrait Gallery is directly south of the British Museum bordering the theater district. Theoretically, it displays works (mostly portraits) from the 18th to early 20th-century, though the British frequently find it convenient to blur such lines. It's here you would find works by Canaletto (mostly his London cityscapes), Goya, Turner, Constable, Ingres, Degas, Cézanne, Monet, Van Gogh, and other pioneers in painted art. Located on famed Trafalgar Square, in the shadow of a giant column topped by the larger-than-life statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson, it's one of the most congested areas of London.
Copyright, 2018, Jim LaneTrafalgar Square on a rainy afternoon. The dome of the National Gallery can be seen at far left.
|Regatta on the Grand Canal, 1740, Canaletto.|
Copyright, 2018, Jim LaneEve, 1900, Thomas Brock
The Tate Modern, just down the river and on the opposite side, (and directly across from St. Paul's Cathedral) is about as opposite as its parental counterpart as one could imagine. It is housed in a former power station, in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark. The Tate Modern holds the national collection of British art from (approximately) 1900 to the present day along side international modern and contemporary art. I found it quite comparable to the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (except for the fact that, once again, admission is free).
Copyright, 2018, Jim LaneThe Tate Modern is said to be the largest all brick structure in the world.
Copyright, 2018, Jim LaneAt the Tate Modern, one can literally descend into a Modern Art abstraction.
In visiting London, if one gets "burned-out" tromping through endless art museums (each of which deserve a full day of art appreciation), there's one museum unlike any other in the world--the Imperial Crown Jewels Museum located behind the ancient, historic walls of the Tower of London. The infamous tower is among the oldest buildings in London, dating back to the 11th-Century. It is located on the north banks of the Thames roughly across the river from the Tate Modern. Just over its stone ramparts can be seen the iconic Tower Bridge (below).
|The monarch and her exquisite headgear. The coronation crown weighs some two-and-a-half pounds.|
I had long wanted to visit London, its museums, and historic venues. My patient, loving wife...not so much. As I wore myself out ingesting all the museum art I could see, she remained at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel during the day, relaxing, looking forward to a night on the town, including dinner at a British pub or fine dining at a posh restaurant capped off with a West-End musical--School of Rock, Kinky Boots, and her favorite, Momma Mia. Getting around London is easy if you don't mind the cab fare. Forget about renting a car. London streets are a horrendous maze of narrow, confusing, driving-on-the-"wrong"-side-of-the-street madness. By the same token, the London Underground is world renown, but the map looks like a diagram for my desktop's motherboard.
Copyright, 2018, Jim LaneThis gallery in the Tate gives some idea as to
what it was like to go "gallery hopping" in the
past--floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall art.
|Master Crewe as Henry VIII, |
1775, Sir Joshua Reynolds. Can
you imagine a parent doing this