It’s easy to take a city for granted. Heck, in the lull between arriving excitedly in the land of tea and scones and blogging taking over my life, London just became somewhere for commuting through. It’s easy for the gloss to wear off, and for you to walk past bastions of history with less than a glance.
On the other hand, once you rekindle that feeling it means
you really get to savour a city – take the National Gallery for
instance. A grand dame of the London museum and galleries scene, I’ve
popped in once or twice over the years to admire the priceless artworks I
had studied second hand via glossy bookpages in New Zealand. The idea that you can simply wander into a beautiful building and study these paintings for hours, for free, still fires my expat heart. What’s more, you can delve a little deeper into the history, the stories and the setting for these priceless studies of social history.
Lured in over the weekend by the teasing promise of an exhibition dedicated entirely to the art of framing, I took a wander through the stunning halls of the National Gallery, but didn’t bother to look at the art (well, ok, I had a teeny look at a few of my favorites, and a long moment surrounded by Monet waterlilies).
What caught my eye on this visit addition to the priceless Monets, Picassos, Lichtensteins, Van Goghs and Da Vinvi were gorgeous cornices, fluted columns, handcarved frames, surprisingly modern mosaics, vaulted ceilings, parquet flooring and intricate grating.
Opulently ostentatious 16th Century frames adorned with cherubic figures, sparse modern frames, domed hallways, jewel hued walls sumptuous enough to make any Pinterest board zing, marble statues, enough gold leaf to sink a few ships and delicate window traceries.
It just seems to be how I see the world. Draining the camera battery photographs of architraving in the Louvre far before we got to the Mona Lisa, admiring London’s door ironmongery on a regular basis and embracing the shoefie on a regular basis. It’s just a matter of taking another 30 seconds to admire (and envy).
I suppose my behavior is a symptom of a few years studying architecture; the tactic of assessing the beauty and function of a space never mind the just pretties contained within…
Still, it doesn’t make me very normal I suspect…