Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) and I have made two trips to London in the last week. The first was to celebrate LSW’s birthday. That was very enjoyable. We stayed in the Barbican flat and the surrounding gardens and the window-boxes of many of the flats look lovely at this time of year.
The second was much more traumatic surprise.
This was a rapid and urgent scoot up to Royal London Hospital to be with Middle Son (MS). He had been knocked down by a car in a hit-and-run accident during a police car chase.
MS is recovering but has some seriously broken bones and a lot of bruises, so he will probably spend his own upcoming birthday in hospital and has a few frustrating months of rehabilitation ahead of him. At least now I am retired I can lend full physical as well as moral support. MS also has great support from his partner, brothers and friends. He’s a tough cookie too, he’s in a good hospital and he will bounce back.
London has great museums, art galleries and restaurants. We experienced while celebrating LSW’s birthday by visiting the Natalia Goncharova exhibition at Tate Modern, the Lee Krasner exhibition at the Barbican and eating out with Youngest Son (YS) at the buzzy and lovely Morito restaurant.
We also visited Walthamstow to get a feel for one of the areas MS and his partner have been looking to buy a house in – a project I suspect will be on hold for a bit now. Plus I visited the Foundling Museum.
Sitting here in a hospital waiting room I can’t compose much about those visits; my head is too distracted with recent events. However here is a quick view of the high points with some pictures added since I got back home.
The Foundling Museum was interesting but while there are some fascinating items and facts on show, the topic based layout didn’t work for me. I struggled to build up the chronology of the way the Foundling Hospital developed from 1741 through to the modern day from the exhibits although, half way round, I did find a clear timeline in the free paper guide pamphlet so my issue was mostly my fault.
The museum’s temporary exhibit of Hogarth and his depiction of noise in his pictures and cartoons is set out more engagingly. Different elements of a single painting by him are picked out to illustrate six different aspects of 18th century street life from street music to drinking, disease and prostitution. There is also an exhibition of some of George Handel’s work (both Hogarth and Handel were early sponsors of the Foundling Hospital) which provided welcome comfortable chairs in which to listen to some snatches of his lovely music amid information about him and his muses.
I had not heard of Lee Krasner before visiting the exhibition at the Barbican. LSW was much more in the know than I and she was very keen to go. She was spot on; it was a fascinating exhibition and full of very impressive art. She was married to Jackson Pollock but embraced many more styles than I associate with him. The narrative of her life, picked out by the different sections of the art on show, was compelling, the colours were terrific. I think I will use my Barbican membership to visit again later this year.
Detail From Two Early Krasner Paintings
The Natalia Goncharova art exhibition at The Tate Modern was also worth seeing. Again there was a clear progression to her style through the early years of her life. She was incredibly prolific during this period and it was noticeable that there was little on show from her later years except for examples of her work in designing theatre sets and costumes. Interesting as that aspect is, I was more impressed by her earlier work.
So, back to thinking about MS and his recovery…. We will be back in London soon to see his progress first hand and to slip in a few more cultural treats.