Today (Thursday, which was Day 3) was Go in Different Directions and Do Your Own Thing day. I had bought a ticket to the Burne-Jones exhibition at Tate Britain, G had planned to do a long walk along the Regents Canal.
After yesterday’s glorious blue skies, the weather had turned grey, dismal and wet. As we waited in the shelter on the platform at Kew Bridge station, it dawned on me that the e-ticket for the exhibition, which had not arrived as promised, might actually have arrived and be lurking in the Spam folder. Once on the train, I discovered that was indeed the case, so I saved myself from an embarrassing encounter with the ticket checker who would no doubt have suggested that very possibility.
Unfortunately, when the train reached Barnes it could go no further due to a fatality on the line at Mortlake. No further details were forthcoming, but after waiting for a while, we were told that the train would be stuck for ages as they had to turn the power off on the whole section to extricate the body from under the train.
We followed the other passengers as they abandoned the train and headed up to the road where we caught a very crowded bus to Putney Bridge and thence onto the Tube where we parted company, me to take the District line to Victoria and G to take the District line’s other branch to the north.
The walk from Victoria to the Tate Britain on Millbank took around 25 minutes, which left me time to get a spicy chicken wrap and a cup of tea in the Tate’s cafe before making my way to the exhibition I had come to see.
I know it’s fashionable to be dismissive of Pre-Raphaelites and the review on Radio 4’s arts programme had been a bit sniffy about the faces all looking a little samey, but the faces aren’t the point of Burne-Jones’ pictures and I was very impressed. It took a while to see everything and then I wandered around a few of the free galleries before walking back along the Thames to Waterloo and thence by train back to the apartment.
King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid is one of the paintings that we studied on the OU Arts Foundation course A102 with its Victorian theme. It turned out to be far bigger than I expected from the reproduction in the course book.
I think this poor chap is doomed, a victim of this lustful mermaid.
Burne-Jones had done a number of paintings on this and similar themes.
Admiring the art while resting the feet.