London is lousy for museums and the large ones like the Tate eclipse the smaller ones. One of these is the London Guildhall museum, situated in Guildhall square, attached to the Guildhall. Lots of Guildhall going on here.
The main gallery takes you back in the past. Mainly Victorian era work. If you like Victorian painting then you were like these. Some of them can be a bit mundane. There were some that really caught my eye.
These two sit more or less opposite each other. The on the left is called the letter and is by William Loudan. High Victoriania, as indeed many of the paintings in this gallery are. Such a genre of painting is out of fashion at the moment and indeed many of them are dull but I like this one. I like the fabric of her dress and the slightly mournful attitude as well as the perspective of the room vanishing into the background. I am thinking of doing a version of this with someone holding a phone and call it the text, but then again maybe not. Contrasting vividly with this is the implied violence and vivid blood flowing along the floor of John Collier's Clytemnestra. I particularly enjoyed the nonchalance of her facial expression. Women of violence and power are rare in western art and this is a good example. The marble texture is excellent and the whole thing is really made by that rug.
There is then a Rossetti (above left). Typically and obviously so with the pensive red haired girls. They are magical things Rossetti painting all wistful and pensive. It is physically distant in the gallery from the piece I have put next to it. Annoyingly I have managed to lose my notes of what this is called and who it is by but the picture is clear enough. Early 20th century, the gazing expression, the dark coats and foul weather and the Turner-esk light in the background. This is a doomed love affair.
I am a fan of humour in art so I enjoyed the pensive boredom of the figures in the painting on the left called Too Early by Jame Tissett. A sumptuous picture with a sumptuous setting deflated nicely by the subject and air of boredom. We have all been at events like this. It made me smile. Another piece was a duo by Millais called called My Second Sermon and My First Sermon. You can see what's going on there.
The star of the museum is the truly enormous picture called Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar by John Singleton Copley. All pomposity, patriotism and propaganda it dominates the space taking up nearly two floors. You have to admire the scale. John Singleton Copley is someone I have encountered before but this painting other than the scale didn't particularly hold me.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.