My friend and classmate Ping took this picture of me and Elizabeth at the fair!
Sunday – Anthony left early this morning, sadly. It was a really great week in London, but per usual went by way too fast.
My group met for the final time at noon to discuss our last presentation on the Russian Art Market and a piece of work by Pavel Pepperstein. I’m a big fan of his name! I am going to be so happy when the group projects are over, though it has been nice getting to know a few people in my class that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
This afternoon I went to high tea at the British Museum! My friend Kate, who is a fellow Georgetown classmate and lives across the hall from me organized it. Most of the Georgetown girls joined, so that was nice to be able to chat with everyone. There were different menu options, but I decided to go all out and go for the whole Afternoon Tea (as did the majority of our group). This included a pot of tea, and a two tiered tray of sandwiches and desserts. The sandwiches included honey & mustard ham on cranberry bread, egg & cress sandwich, spinach tart, Sevren & Wye smoked salmon on rye. The desserts were a pop corn salted macaroon, vanilla eclair, apple tart, lemon tart and vanilla slice. It also came with two scones with clotted cream and a tiny jar of strawberry jam. I had the Garden Berry tea, and it was quite good! I was quite stuffed by the end, but I am very happy to have participated in a real British tea in an amazing location. We even had a little section of the restaurant to ourselves that overlooked the inner court of the museum. Great company, great tea and great location. What more could you ask for!
I’ve spent the evening catching up on emails and other work. I’m happy to have one more day for the weekend before it is back to school!
I really love art history days. Today we learned about the Grand Tour and collection in the 18th century. In the afternoon we went to the Sir John Soane museum. It is supposedly the best house museum in the world. Soane was a neo-classical architect (Bank of England), and he bought three houses in Lincoln’s Inn Field and would demolish them then build them back up. He created a half house, half museum. He collected all sorts of architectural, sculpture, paintings from ancient Rome. But the museum is not that big and it is packed. They don’t let you take bags inside because you would probably knock something priceless over. I loved it. I’m considering writing my final paper on Sir John Soane as a collector and essentially curator and museum creator. They sadly don’t allow photography inside. Afterwards we went to the Enlightenment Galleries in the British Museum. They have redone the wing to what it would have looked like during the Enlightenment. It is full of books (being the first place of the British Library) and all sorts of medical, scientific, artistic discoveries. Pretty great to have that basically in my own front yard!
I went out to dinner tonight with Elizabeth and a friend she was just introduced to named Ally. Ally is from North Carolina and has been in London since October. We went to a restaurant called Crazy Homies. It is actually a Mexican restaurant! Which are fairly new to London. They say it is street style food…which basically means tacos, burritos, enchiladas. We had chips and guacamole, and for dinner I had the spiced chicken burrito. Inside there was rice, black beans, and chicken, and on top – guacamole and sour cream. It came with shredded lettuce on the side which sort of resembled a salad, but it had olives on top so I didn’t eat it. This restaurant is in my food book I brought and it said you had to end the meal with their homemade churros. So of course I had to, and it came with chocolate dipping sauce! The churros were made into rings though, with the two ends touching. I thought that was kind of strange. Overall is was good. but it was nowhere near as good as Mexican food in the states. For now, it will do. The atmosphere was pretty cool thought, it was a really small place. On Thursday nights they bring in this …DJ on wheels, and it is an older guy playing classic 50s Rock and Roll. Then he has games that you can win prizes for. It was fun! And definitely a different type of night out.
Today was a beautifully clear day, but deceptive because it was actually very cold. I did not dress for all the outdoor activities I had planned. Anna and I walked from our apartment down to the Waterloo Bridge to meet up with a friend of hers. We all walked from there to South Bank and the Borough Market. The view from Waterloo Bridge was amazing. Big Ben and the London Eye on one side, and St Pauls and the Gherkin (the one shaped like an egg) on the other. South Bank was neat to walk along the water. I found sand sculptures on the way, and other artistic sites like the National Theater.
We arrived at Borough Market at lunchtime and probably the height of the crowds. But I fell in love with it immediately anyway. Each stand was different. There were cheeses, meats, breads, fruits and vegetables, chocolates, fish, and various spots to pick up lunch! I went to Brindisa for their chorizo, pepper, and rocket sandwich. I read that it was good, and it was. Though now I have to go back and have the toasted cheese, the salted beef, paella, and oysters!
From there we walked to the White Cube gallery. It is a famous contemporary art gallery. They are famous because they are the first to give single shows to the YBA’s, the Young British Artists like Damien Hirst. The show there was by artist Antony Gormley. His work looks like different shaped boxes all stacked up in different ways. The piece made specifically for the gallery is a giant one in a huge room, but what makes it unique is it is interactive. The blocks are hollow and you start at one end and walk through the different interconnecting boxes. The weird part is that they are at varying sizes and varying visibility. Some you have to crouch down, one area you have to crawl (I skipped that section). Some rooms had light and certain areas were pitch black. It was quite a unique experience!
After that we went across the street to a coffee shop. The street we were on is called Bermondsey, and use to be a big textile area. The Fashion and Textile Museum is on the same road. I had a great hot chocolate and warmed up before taking off again. We walked back to the Tate Modern and spent a few hours in the gallery. I’m not a big modern and contemporary art person, but there were certain pieces I really liked. The museum itself is impressive. It is housed in the former Bankside Power Station, and is right next to the reproduction of the Globe Theater. While in the museum we ran into Mia, Kate and Brittany (all DC school friends), and we all headed home together. On the way we stopped in at The Lamb, a pub famous for being frequented by Charles Dickens and Sylvia Plath! We ended up in a cozy corner playing Scrabble for a couple hours.
I did have a full day, but still had planned to do more! I suppose it is good to leave more for another day.
Some of my favorite art from the preview. What is cool about it is they are all from private collections and will probably go back into private collections and not museums. So it is a time to see the art that will most likely never be shown in public again!
What I found on my walk today to Spitalfields