London ~ the National Gallery

...And Beyond…

England has always been a land that’s intrigued me. Not only did I have a keen interest in a number of British artists, (Gainsborough, Reynolds, Sergeant…and the list goes on) I’ve also had a keen interest in its history, architecture, and it’s quaint villages.

When my daughter moved to England it was the perfect opportunity for me to explore all its treasures! And although it would probably take a life time to cover all the places of interest, I did make a nice start by traveling for six weeks throughout the southern portion of the country.

Although I spent several days taking in some of the “highlights” of London that would interest the artistic eye and temperament it was by far the smaller towns, villages and historical places that captivated my visual senses! Acquiring a National Trust pass was a great asset to my travels, allowing easy access to historical sites many with lovely gardens.

I was also fortunate enough to be traveling in the months of May and June. This meant the weather would be “decent” for outdoor extravaganzas, and the gardens would have blooms to tantalize the artistic eye. June is also the month for the “trooping the colour” in London and the “Mall” was decked out in its finest, adding to sightseers “visual pleasures”.

Entrance to the Pall Mall
To Buckinghams Gate

Me in front of the National Gallery
The National Art Gallery

The National Gallery in London has a spectacular array of paintings by artists from around the world. 

I was amazed and delighted to find many of my favourite paintings on these walls. And, as usual, you can expect to spend the greater part of the day inspecting the works of art contained in this large gallery. As with all the galleries photos are not allowed (unless you’re a real sneak and don’t get caught! … I’m not that brave.)

But art and artistry could be found throughout London. Trafalgar’s Square starts with it’s grand architecture, to it’s fountains in front of the National Gallery (above) to it’s statue (below left)…


…To statues depicting British rule and dominance (above right) … to the classical dolphins found at the base of many lamp standards (below left) …


…To the exquisite architectural styling of the Parliament Buildings (above right) and even an artistic flair of a stranded cargo troller at low tide on the River Thames (below)

A highlight of my initial foray into London was a quick trip (well, they are never a “quick trip”) to the Tate Gallery (below left) where one of my favourite paintings, The Lady of Shalott is exhibited… it is an 1888 oil-on-canvas painting by the English Pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse.

Tate Gallery
Lady of Shalott

…England seems to have an endless source of vast historical manor houses, castles, estates and cathedrals, and the thing to note when visiting these is the fact that they will always have paintings and sculptures in them!!! So if you are in England, and artistically curious, don’t pass these up as they are every bit as exciting as the formal galleries.  The fact that paintings adorn so many walls of these historical places should be an inspiration to young artists and a reminder of the importance and high regard in which art has been held through the ages…

… I leave you with my memories of the National Gallery and Tate and hope you’ll join me on my visual quest, as I present some of my favourite places in England in upcoming blogs …