|Whistler's Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea, 1871 (Image source: Tate)|
Last weekend, I was feeling a bit run down so decided to spend a gentle afternoon in the Tate Britain. As I wandered through the permanent collection, I stopped to look at the above Whistler painting, which they have on display. A woman who also stopped to examine it asked me if I knew if we were allowed to take photographs. I said that I thought so, if you didn't use a flash (apologies to the Tate is this was misinformation!).
We carried on our conversation and she told me that she was very excited to see the painting in person as she was president of Whistler House - the birthplace of James McNeill Whistler - in Masschusetts. We then went on to talking about the various artists' residences around Chelsea, here in London, and her plans to go on a walk and see some of them. She was quite impressed by my knowledge of the topic - which has come from a combination of volunteering at the wonderful Carlyle's House for some time a few years ago and recent work advising on listed artists' studio flats in the area... and supplemented by general interest in the period and its people as well.
Perhaps I ought to do a post on the topic one day. (Did you know, for example, that Dante Gabriel Rossetti had a whole collection of exotic animals at his house on Cheyne Walk, including a wombat?) But, whether that eventuates or not, it made an enjoyable and stimulating interlude to my afternoon, speaking with this interesting and interested lady at the Tate. Art galleries really are a great place for good conversation with random strangers.
|Rossetti's sketch of himself mourning his wombat, Top (Image source: Pre-Raphernalia)|