Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tate Britain, revisiting the British Museum and Martin Freeman

I'd been to the Tate Modern the other day; this time I'd be heading to its parent gallery - the Tate Britain. It's in a completely different direction (west of the city and north of the river), and I once again turned to the bus option to get me there because it involved less walking and meant I could look at things as we went along; this has been quite helpful in giving me a mental image of where things are here relative to each other.

Of course I'll probably forget before I'm back again to make use of it...

Anyway, the Tate Britain has a lot of the historically famous British artists - John Constable, Sir Joshua Reynolds, William Hogarth, John Singer Sargent, Gainsborough - and, of course, an absolute truckload of JMW Turner; I'd seen the 'Turner from the Tate' exhibition that had come to Adelaide last year and been very impressed, so I knew I'd enjoy this. And I wasn't wrong. Plus there was more modern art as well, and sculpture and installation as well as paintings.

I hadn't at this point realised it'd be a good idea to note down what I found significant while I was there - something I've been doing the last couple of days - so it's difficult to say exactly what else I saw. But I spent a very pleasant few hours there wandering around; it was much quieter there than nearly everywhere else I've been, before or after.

My increasing sense of London-fu told me it'd probably be easier to catch a tube (or series of tubes) to my next destination, and I was right; I wanted to go back to the British Museum for another round, so I caught a tube from Pimlico to Oxford Circus, and then another to Tottenham Court Road, where I got off.

At this point I also needed coffee, so when I spotted a Starbuck's I went in. Last time I was in one I had an iced latte, which I didn't enjoy all that much; this time I had a better look at the menu and saw something called an espresso frappucino, so I gave that a try. It was a good choice; as far as I can tell it's probably about as close to Australian iced coffee as I'm likely to find here.

Onwards to the museum.

This time I made straight for the area that I'd been in when I'd left (out of a combination of information overload, tiredness and the need to be elsewhere) the other day - the Europe section on the upper floor, where they had Roman and Medieval British displays. All inherently fascinating, which meant for very slow-going; even after a few hours there I didn't get through anywhere near all of it. But I did take in all of what's called the Sutton Hoo exhibit (named after the place a buried ship was excavated), which is brilliant.

Oh, and I found this, one of the actual boar pins worn by the supporters of Richard III in his war against Henry Tudor (later Henry VII - oops, spoilers):

Which is of course wonderfully serendipitous, given I was going to see Richard III that very night. Ele and I had dinner at an Italian restaurant not far from the theatre (Trafalgar Studios) and we were both very impressed by how good the pizza was. All it needed was kalamata olives instead of black ones and it would have been amazing.

As for Richard III: once again, proper standalone review (it's coming, I swear; I just have to stop actually *seeing* theatre so I can have the time to write about it - and after tomorrow night I've got most of my evenings free until I get to Edinburgh so I should be able to catch up) will cover it at length, but the short version is that I wasn't overly impressed, since Martin Freeman was, as I described in a comment on Facebook, far too Martin Freemanesque. But it was still very awesome to see him performing on stage not all that many meters away from us.

Obviously that didn't come as a complete surprise, but that doesn't mean I wasn't hoping to see him do something different. But more on that at the appropriate time.

Then it was time to bid Ele farewell, since her course was over and she was flying back to Australia. I would be seeing all the rest of my theatre in London solo.Oh, and it'd started raining while we were watching - the first rain I'd seen since I arrived in the UK; I'd made it a whole week without any inclement weather.. I didn't even have an umbrella, but I didn't mind since it was only slightly spitting. Heck, I quite enjoyed it. I really was in London now.

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