Saturday, 25 August 2012

Queen and Garden

Yesterday a friend and I took the kids to London to see a special exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery ~ The Queen: Art and Image. This exhibition has been put together to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and contains photographs and paintings of Her Majesty from the 50's through to the present day.

Dorothy Wilding's portrait is one of my favourites. Seeing it up close you can even see the brush strokes on the image.

Pietro Annigoni's Renaissance style protrait was inspired by an observation the Queen made while he was making preparatory sketches "When I was a little child, it always delighted me to look out of the window and see the people and traffic going by." To me, this painting is a poignant reminder of how a young woman was held seperate from the rest of us, and became a symbol for our nation.
In sharp contrast, Eve Arnold's portrait is one of sheer unselfconscious joy. Who says rain can't be a delight?!
I love this image of the Queen cradling Prince Andrew. Partly because it shows Her Majesty as a woman and mother, but I also adore the loving yet protective embrace she holds him in.
The final portrait in the exhibition is this one by Annie Liebovitz. Similar to the Annigoni portrait it shows the Queen cloaked against a natural background. But in this photograph the Queen is facing us, making a connection with the viewer.

There are many more portraits at the exhibition, and even more in the catalogue which also features a timeline chronicling the course of the Royal Family during Queen Elizabeth's reign so far. The exhibition is on until 21st October.

After lunch we walked up to Covent Garden for a wander around the markets. My son really enjoyed his first taste of Covent Garden and we had to stop and watch every street performer, from a balloon-swallowing magician to a knife-juggling heavy metal fan. We browsed the shops, my favourites being the Moomins Shop, and the oh-so shabby chic Sass & Belle, and the Apple Market, where we found this awesome t-shirt stall:

 Martin Eden is from Norfolk, and sells these airbrushed t-shirts exclusively at Covent Garden. My son loves his Pee and Poo shirt!

 And here I am with Flower Seller Mandeville, one of the many decorative Olympic Mascot sculptures that have been placed around the city.

There are 83 of these sculptures around London, each decorated to fit their location and placed on trails designed to encourage tourists to walk around the city and discover hidden gems and landmarks.

Hmm, I think I may have a plan for our next visit . . .

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