Thursday, April 05, 2007

Day Four: National Portrait Gallery

Back to the London tea tour....

On the afternoon of Day Four, we visited the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square. It's nearly impossible to have favorites among a week of perfect tea touring! Nonetheless, this visit to the NPG stands out in my mind as a favorite among favorites. We had a custom tour, designed by the tour creator. She led us through the portrait galleries, highlighting famous tea folks. This was really cool because I had never seen any pictures of many of these people! We saw Catherine de Braganza, Anna Maria Stanhope, the Duchess of Beford, and many other people associated with tea history and lore. It was fascinating to me to see the faces of these people.

This is the portrait we saw of Catherine de Braganza. She was a Portuguese princess, sent to marry England's King Charles II. The marriage was a political merger. She introduced tea-drinking to England. I was struck by how young she looked in this portrait.

There was also a modern exhibit of photographic portraits that I really enjoyed.

After visiting the NPG, I wandered around Trafalgar Square. It was a beautiful, sunny day. I was really drawn to the statue of a pregnant Allison Lapper. Lapper is an artist who paints using her mouth and feet. The statue is by Marc Quinn. What I love about it the statue is its challenge to us to broaden our definition of beauty.

I ended this portion of the afternoon at the National Gallery. I enjoyed the work of Peter Paul Rubens. His paintings are huge! They're very easily identified, with dark backgrounds but highlighted characters. Rubens is famous for his naked, rotund and beautiful women. Here's an example...The Judgement of Paris.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had a chance to visit the National Portrait Gallery recently, too. And I really liked it, as well! I thought the black and white photos were stunning.