Saturday, February 12, 2011

National Portrait Gallery

Hello, all^_^ I ended up not doing anything yesterday, spending the day in ISH recovering from running around all week. I woke up with sore muscles in my ankles and calves, so I thought it would be good to take it easy so I could do what I wanted this weekend. I got up this morning around 9:30, and, concerned that it was going to rain in the afternoon, decided to go to the art museum I was interested in seeing the most, the National Portrait Gallery. It ended up not raining today, but I definitely don't regret going- I had an amazing time.

The Hammersmith, Metropolitan, and City lines were all closed (and probably will be tomorrow,) so I had to walk down to Baker Street to get onto the lines I needed to be on in order to get down to Trafalgar, where the museum is. I had no issues, though the Piccadilly line was packed with people while I was going through it. I had written directions with me in case I had troubles finding the building, but it was very easy to spot. Here's a picture I took of the outside:

Unfortunately, just like with Windsor, I couldn't take pictures once I got inside. I spent about 2 1/2 hours inside, and it was just amazing. I'm very passionate about British royalty, and I got to see rooms and rooms of different famous portraits of different monarchs. Any well-known painting that comes into your head that you've seen in books or on handouts, it was here. I wanted to get the full experience, so I spent 3 pounds on an audio guide. It was definitely worth it- I could either get information about different portraits depending on what floor and room I was in, or I could get information on specific portraits that were picked for specific interests that people may have. There were five categories for these themed tours, but I only remember three: Highlights of the Portrait Gallery, Kings and Queens, and Science and Technology. I walked through all three floors, but I went through the Highlights and Kings and Queens tours.

I did the Kings and Queens tour first. It was a phenomenal experience, walking through all those rooms with all those beautiful portraits. Some of them were little miniatures, and some were gigantic, the size of an entire wall. I was proud of myself for being able to identify every portrait in the Tudor room without needing to check the placards next to them. The Victoria ones in particular were all gorgeous, and there was one of Queen Anne which I admired for close to five minutes. Again, I'm sorry for the lack of pictures>_< If people want me to, I'd be happy to look up the different portraits online that were my favorite and post them on here.

After the Kings and Queens tour, I took the Highlights tour, though two of the thirteen portraits that were a part of that tour were out being used in special exhibits in other museums, including the most well-known portrait of William Shakespeare. I read on the placard that it's being used all winter in multiple museums for an exhibit called "Writers of Influence: Shakespeare to J.K. Rowling." God, I'd love to see an exhibit like that. Other portraits that were included in the Highlights tour included one of Elizabeth I, Charles Dickens, and T.S. Eliot.

By the time I had ended the Highlights tour, I was feeling really hungry and a little lightheaded, which was unfortunate because I could have happily spent another hour just walking around the museum. However, I knew I had to get some food, so I dropped off the audio guide and left, walking over to a French deli that has chains all over the city called Pret A Manager, where I got a takeaway lunch of a toasted tomato, cheese, and pesto sandwich with a bag of crisps (yes, I got some crisps,) a small container of seedless grapes, and a bottle of water. I took it with me back to ISH; the sandwich was still a little warm by the time I got back to my room. It was all delicious, and I don't feel guilty at all about eating the crisps. I was starving, and I need to start eating like a person on a normal diet.

On the way back, after I left the Baker Street station, I ran into this lovely statue:

So, that was nice to see^_^ I never get tired of Sherlock Holmes. I still need to take a picture of the inside of the Baker Street station, it has the classic silhouette of Holmes all over the walls. Also, Madame Tussauds is right next to the station, and it was PACKED. There was a line going outside and down the street. So, note to self and anyone else: if you want to go to Madame Toussauds, book ahead.

I don't what the plans for tomorrow are. It's supposed to rain, so I might go spend the afternoon in one of the many large shopping centers in the city. Fortnum and Mason's looks the most interesting to me (other than Harrod's, but I don't want that to be my first shopping experience in the city.) So, we'll see what happens.

Until then!



  1. The National Portrait Gallery sounds like it was fun. And I don't think it's possible to get tired of Sherlock Holmes.

  2. I want to see a picture of Queen Victoria or Queen Anne!

    (and a sandwich. I really want a sandwich)

  3. Haha, see, I'm starting to get tired of sandwiches. Though I really like the one I had today.

    I'll find the portraits of Victoria I liked the most, and I'll put it and the Queen Anne portrait up in my next post.

  4. YAY!

    I have not had a sandwich in forever. And the one you had today sounds great. I might have to walk over to the sandwich shop sometime this week

  5. I would love to see some of the portraits you loved! I love that shit. This sounds like SO MUCH FUN. And learning! Learning is something else I love.

  6. I'll do that in my next post, then^_^