Postcard from London: Tate Britain at Millbank

No visit to London would be complete without a visit to Tate Britain. Anne and I traveled up by train on Thursday and had a whirlwind of meetings and reunions before we returned late on Saturday. But, we made sure we had time to fit in one gallery and, this is me, on a bitterly cold but sunny morning, on the steps of Tate Britain.

Tate Britain


What’s on at Tate Britain?Tate Britain

Tate Britain at Millbank is, as ever, currently running several exhibitions and offering talks and other events:

  • Art in Focus: Horse Frightened by a Lion – until 30 November 2017
  • Rachel Whiteread – until 21 January 2018
  • Art Now: Marguerite Humeau: Echoes – until 15 April 2018

As luck would have it, and it was our preference, the one to catch our eye was the EY Exhibition ‘Impressionists in London Curator’s Tour’.


On at Tate Britain: EY Exhibition ‘Impressionists in London Curator’s Tour’

Having visited the Musée D’Orsay when we were in Paris, and sent a postcard from there, we have an ongoing love for the Impressionist movement.

My knowledge about the influx to the UK, as a result of the French-German conflict in 1870 or thereabouts, and the subsequent domestic political turmoil was only very sketchy. However, it clearly had an impact on the artist fraternity who had fled to the UK  and, to our delight, there were paintings of Molesey, Hampton Court and Kew Gardens.

Many of the work on display, it would appear, were on loan from the Musée D’Orsay. We didn’t mind seeing them again!

Time was limited but I treated myself to an early Christmas gift: a hard back version of the exhibition catalogue. It’s a beautiful book, with hundreds of images and fact-filled accounts for each one. Edited by Caroline Corbeau-Parsons, it’s a delight to read.


Highlights of our visit to Tate Britain

Of the paintings we saw, one of my favourites is Sisley: The Regatta at Molesey 1874

Tate Britain

And another Sisley: The Bridge at Hampton Court, Mitre Inn 1874. Both remind me of childhood haunts!

Tate Britain

The exhibition also includes many views of the Thames and its bridges. Lots by Turner …


When does the Impressionist exhibition end?

This exhibition continues until 7 May 2108 and is well worth a visit.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. 

Louvre Museum

POSTCARD from Paris: Louvre Museum

The Louvre is one of the ‘big three’ museums in Paris. Comprising an impressive group of buildings – and offering the opportunity for much walking! – it is said to be the largest museum in the world.

The other two ‘big’ museums in Paris are the Museé d’Orsay which was featured in the previous postcard (with Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art from the years 1848-1914) and the Centre Pompidou (with 20th century works created after 1914) which we didn’t have time to visit during this trip.


The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays!

The Louvre Museum is always top of the list when Anne and I visit Paris. However, this time, we arrived on a Monday afternoon and the Louvre is closed on a Tuesday, so we had to hold fire on our excitement for an additional 24 hours.

We took the advice from to purchase our fast-track ticket from the Paris Tourist Office at 25 Rue des Pyramides.  For the newest information about the Paris Travel Guide, click here.

If you think the queue we joined – on the left of the featured image above – was long, the one for those without tickets – on the right – was ten times longer. The tickets were no more expensive … and those in the longer queue were understandably frustrated.

Once inside, despite the crowds outside, the galleries were relatively empty.


The Louvre marquees

The pyramid outside the building is eye-catching enough but, inside, apart from the paintings, the architecture is wonderful.

There are great sweeping stairways and three marquees: Mona LisaVenus de Milo and Winged Victory.

Long, long corridors, with hundreds of framed original paintings on display. And, you must remember to look upwards too, at the ceiling.


The Louvre boasts 35,000 art treasures inside

One of the world’s most authoritative museums, the Louvre’s collection ranges from arts and crafts of ancient civilizations right up to the middle of the 19th century.

The brochure boasts that there are 35,000 artistic treasures inside. We didn’t have time to count them … It’s also impossible to see everything in the Louvre in one day!

Antonio Canal by Canaletto

We consulted the free tour guide and identified the exhibits of most interest to us.

We were delighted to see paintings by our favourite artists: Archimbold, Bosch, Brueghel, Caravaggio, Carpaccio, Constable, Delacroix, Dürer, Gainsborough, Goya, Guardi, Ingres, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Turner, van Eyck, Vermeer

One by Canaletto sparked a discussion as to when we might return to Venice. This stunning location is always on our to-visit list and, one day, I might find time to paint some scenes of Venice myself.

The paintings by Arcimboldo, Bosch and Brueghel also provoked discussion; they reminded us of the exhibition we’d seen at Les Baux-de-Provence only a few days earlier. I wrote about it in this postcard.

The Mona Lisa, of course, warrants a visit. It is tiny, and the crowd between you and it is huge.


One last indulgence: the Louvre gift shop

In all, we spent a good couple of hours walking up and down and around, and eventually had to admit, we needed to stop … and come back another time.

One last indulgence was a visit to the gift shop … where I treated myself to the Guide to the Louvre, which has proved very helpful in writing this postcard – and which I shall treasure.


The treasures outside the Louvre

Back out into the sunshine, we were delighted to see this sculpture.

Usually, I also take a photo of the label. But, by now, we were so weary, we just headed to the nearest eatery for much needed refreshment.

Next to the Louvre are the Tuileries Gardens and yet more art to enjoy: statues by Maillol, alongside works by Rodin and Giacometti.

We have walked through these gardens on a previous visit and no doubt will do so again.

We will be back!

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. It’s the third and final one for this particular trip. The previous postcards were from Paradou, and Paris (the Musée d’Orsay)

Postcard from Paris: Musée d’Orsay

Musée d'Orsay Au Pied De CochonDuring our recent trip to Paris, we visited the Musée d’Orsay – a first time for us – and what a delight!

What made us choose this venue?


The Musée d’Orsay comes recommended

While enjoying a lovely French dinner at the Au Pied de Cochon restaurant on the Monday evening, we fell into conversation with the couple at the next table.

Having discussed what we might order from the menu, talk turned to our plans for our two days. The Louvre is top our our list, I declared.

Musée d'Orsay

Central area with sculptures

No! They thought the Musée d’Orsay was much better.

Then the following morning, when we went to purchase our tickets, we discovered the Louvre doesn’t open on a Tuesday, so off we went to find the Musée d’Orsay.


At the Musée d’Orsay – so much to see?

As you walk through the entrance to the Musée d’Orsay, this huge exhibition space is what you see first: a central walk filled with sculptures.

It takes more than a moment to take in the layout of the building, but, having consulted the free tour guide, we identified the exhibitions and ‘rooms’ of most interest to us.

We were pleased to discover the lifts. Our first chosen exhibition – the Impressionists – was on the 5th floor!

En route, we walked through the cafe area. That was a masterpiece in itself, but we did not sample the delights.

Later, we were to explore all the rooms which led off from the left hand side of the upper corridor (level 2) of this enormous entrance hall area.


At the Musée d’Orsay – more Impressionists than you can shake a stick at!

Musée d'OrsayI have attended many Impressionist exhibitions in London but none compare with the one on at the Musée d’Orsay at the moment.

I saw more of the Impressionists in one day than I had in my entire life: Bazille, Caillebotte, Cassatt, Cézanne, Degas, Fantin-Latour, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Whistler.

It was a knock out!

The catalogue (at 14 euros) is a delight and is split into three historical sections.

  • Impressionism from 1863 to 1874
  • Impressionism from 1874 to 1886
  • Impressionism after 1886

If you are quick, you can see the Portraits by Cézanne exhibition – ends 24 September.


At the Musée d’Orsay – Les Régates à Molesey by Sisley

Musée d'OrsayOne exhibit, I had never seen before, by Sisley, was Les Régates à Molesey (Boating at Molesey).

Painted in 1874, it shows a spot on the Thames, near to where I lived for many years.

Seeing that painting brought back memories …

I’m not sure if we were allowed to take photos in the Musée d’Orsay; certainly, the placement of the exhibits in relation to the windows didn’t encourage it!

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. It’s the second one for this particular trip. The previous postcard was from Paradou, and the next is Paris again, at the Louvre.