Slade Summer School – Day 3

I can’t vouch for the coherence of the following post, as I am fresh from the public house. I was there with the lovely Lindsay, a friend I have made on the course. Lindsay is from Canada and is lovely…oh I said that already. Anyway, we had a nice time. Before going to the pub, we went to a mysterious book shop. I say mysterious, because it was filled with arcane books and knickknacks, and the fellow at the counter was dressed all in white and wore a little white bonnet with a feather sticking out of it; it had the look of religious garb to me. I was dying to ask what that religion was, but didn’t want to offend him in case it was a fashion choice. There was a bargain bookcase out front, selling books for £1; so I bought 3. I guess I wasn’t paying attention, because it turns out one is in French and another in German…and that was before the pub.

Treadwells Books, Bloomsbury

Treadwell’s Books, Bloomsbury

True to my word, I got up early this morning so I could be at the studio before our museum visit. I drew a few more buttons and then decided to add some of Lucian Freud’s birds – only mine were bright red instead of rainbow.

After that, I made my way to the Wallace Collection, in South Kensington. While I was standing outside, waiting for the rest of class to appear, I noticed that people visiting the collection were dressed real fancy. When we made our way inside, it was easy to see why; it is very posh.

Wallace Collection - interior

Wallace Collection – interior

To be honest, the paintings and artefacts they have aren’t really my cup of tea; as such, once the lecture was over and I had taken pictures of some curtain ties (which were lovely), I made my escape; though not before I popped into the gift shop and spied a fridge magnet of a painting I have always adored. I asked the assistant if the painting was in the collection; and, sure enough it was. So I scurried upstairs to see it.

The Swing (cropped) - Jean-Honoré Fragonard 1767

The Swing (cropped) – Jean-Honoré Fragonard 1767

Arguably the finest example of French Rococo painting, Fragonard’s, The Swing,  was commission by the naughty Baron de St. Julian, and depicts both himself – reclining on the left – and his mistress on the swing. The fellow doing the pushing was originally meant to be a Bishop – as requested by the Baron; but Fragonard, for the sake of decency, made him the husband of the mistress. I am not quite sure what it is I love about it. Although it’s super cheesy, every time I come across it in an art book, I can’t take my eyes off it. I think perhaps it’s the cotton-candy centre against the ominous outer reaches; or perhaps it’s the lady with two fellas. Either way, the real thing did not disappoint: it’s a fabulous painting.

Back at the studio, I carried on with my Lucian birds and added the lovely curtain ties; with them and the buttons and the eye-chickens, my drawing is starting to take shape.


Pic. drawing