This year evidence would suggest that I have evolved to the point that I need to hibernate. Last weekend I dragged myself out of my ‘burrow’ for a adventure into London.
My primary destination was the Hockney exhibition on display in the Tate Britain. I’ve visited the Tate’s little sister, the Tate Modern, located in Bankside power station on the South Bank, many times. The Tate’s non central location, in Millbank, is probably the reason I have never been.
Built on the location of Milbank prison in 1893, it was originally called the National Gallery of British Art. It was commonly known by its founder’s name (Sir Henry Tate of Tate & Lyle fame) and in 1932 this was formally adopted.
It is an impressive building, whose western flank still bares the scars of the Blitz. Inside the high ceilings and interesting architectural details. The centre point of the ground floor is a beautiful curved staircase, under a glass covered dome.
The Hockney exhibition itself was comprehensive. I’m a big fan of his use of colour. The influence Van Gough, another of my favourites, is clear. As you walked through the numerous rooms Hockney’s work was laid out chronologically. There are a couple of period’s that I am particularly fond of; the large canvases of Nevada dominated by vibrant reds and the more recent paintings of the Yorkshire countryside are two I’ve admired in the past. There was wall devoted to his sketches, an area of his work I’m not familiar with and these demonstrated the full range of his talent. Having completed a photography course last year I examined his polaroid joiners with renewed admiration. In the last few rooms there were examples of his most recent experiments with new technology. A demonstration of the composition of his iPad works and the output from his video cameras strapped to the front of a landrover were especially interesting.
I discovered his work capturing the Smithsonian for the first time and it has left a lasting impression – I hope to try and emulate it at some point in the future.
After leaving the Tate I did something I haven’t done for years, caught a bus. This gave a different view of Westminster a Trafalgar Square, where I alighted to catch the Tube to London Euston.
My next stop was the British Library. My mental picture of this building was some distance from reality – it is in fact 70’s built. This, combined with the rain, means the only picture I took was of this statue outside. Instead I hurried on to St Pancras.
I have never been to St Pancras. I always find a certain romantic appeal with train stations. The thought of being whisked away to some far flung destination appeals to me. St Pancras, with its international destinations, embodies this like no other.
The station itself boasts an imposing mock gothic facade. Inside there is a fusion fold and new. I found it eerily quiet compared to my usual London Terminus, Waterloo. This allowed me to take in the artwork on show. A colossal statue of two lovers embracing dominates the entrance, and as you walk round more gems can be discovered such as a statue of Slough detractor John Betjeman. Betjeman led the campaign to save St Pancras from demolition in the 1960s.
Thanks for stopping by – hope you enjoyed!