The exhibit was nice, especially when you consider that all four of us made it in for eleven quid and the price of a round of heavily doctored cups of tea (shadowdaddy is not recovering gracefully from his cold - I imagine it kicking and screaming from its position deep within his sinus cavities). The first two rooms were mostly filled with the paintings of his I've seen a million times before - Ophelia, Mariana, Christ in the House of his Parents, The Order of Release, Autumn Leaves - the really pretty paintings I'm so fond of but .... well, let's be honest, which occasionally have a touch of schmaltz to them. (I still like many of them quite a lot, and enjoyed seeing new works I'd not seen before, such as "Love," pictured, and the studies for many of the paintings I was very familiar with.)
The "schmaltz" factor seemed to more and more take over as the exhibit wore on. I was happy that he found love in Effie Ruskin, but once he had eight kids to feed, I guess he threw artistic purity out of the window in favor of commercial success. Sappy sweet kiddie portraits, random decorative romantic "scenes," society portraits ... the middle three rooms ("The Boyhood of Raleigh," "The Ruling Passion," bleah!) were full of what looked like the kind of crap you need to crank out to keep the bills paid.
That said, the last room was full of lovely Scottish landscapes that he painted when he ran away from London society and went to live "the life of an English gentleman," which apparently involved a lot of hunting and fishing and hiding in little huts for seven hours a day painting water pouring over volcanic rocks. Unfortunately I was a bit too tired by this time to really appreciate this art and just wanted to sit down and have some more tea and recover a bit.
Afterwards, off we went to Liverpool Street Station to meet spikeylady and enjoy a christmas tour through the Dennis Severs house. All of the house was lit by candlelight and in each room it appeared the occupants had just left - leaving behind a half eaten softboiled egg, a whiff of perfume, some overturned crockery, etc. I found it all quite charming but felt like a little bit of it was passing me by! Apparently the whole house was the artistic project of Dennis Severs, who died some years back, but like my last trip to see a Punchdrunk production (in this case Faust), I felt like I was just a little bit behind getting what was holding it all together. But it was neat, anyways.
That said my big fun was having dinner afterwards at the Nazrul Restaurant on Brick Lane. Of course, the whole thing was an experience, with every damned restaurant having a shill outside trying to drag you in and make you a paying customer. I was insistent that we find a place that had an "English menu" with fish and chips on it so butterbee could have something utterly unspicey to eat, and managed to escape from the clutches of many proprietors based on needing to fill that criteria (one offered to bring us some from down the street while we ate, which was really just OTT but had me say, "We may be back!"). But we were convinced at last and settled down for a nice dinner (with fried fish, and with the discount I'd been offered elsewhere carried over to this one - 20% off plus free drinks :-) ). It was YAP YAP YAP for about two hours or so and then we all called it a night and slunk back home after getting some sweets down the street (burfi and that fried honey pretzel thing, yum!) and passing through some of the Ripper haunts we'd visited when we did the tour. It seems like we didn't do much today but we are all now very tired.
And now, cake! ("Cake!")