Due to a mix-up earlier this month, Mrs Q had already visited Tate Britain's Paul Nash exhibition, so I went on my own yesterday. There was quite a wide range of work, and I'd seen a few pieces before, but there was also quite a lot that seemed new to me. Some of the early works, such as The Three, immediately made me think of Magritte, although it was rather later that Nash moved explicitly to a surrealist style. I particularly liked the paintings from World War I We Are Making A New World, The Ypres Salient at Night and The Menin Road, and Totes Meer from World War II; but I also enjoyed other landscapes such as various pictures of Wittenham Clumps, sea- and beach-scapes, and Equivalents for the Megaliths, combining Nash's interests with the prehistoric, the mystic, and the surreal. There are a few works by other artists in the exhibition as well, from which I'd pick out Tristram Hillier's Pylons.
I decided to walk from the Tate along the river and by the Houses of Parliament to the National Gallery; on my way by the Jewel Tower I passed a small GMB demonstration with a coffin emblazoned with the NHS logo; and down Whitehall a large number of people with medals on display, presumably for some regimental reunion or other function. In between, there were of course crowds around Parliament itself. For the time being, it all seemed reassuringly very much like Business As Usual in Britain.
At the National Gallery I visited the exhibition of Australia's Impressionists. It's a much smaller exhibition - only a couple of rooms - but the paintings were certainly interesting. Beginning with some very small (but interesting) paintings, the exhibition moves on to larger works. Being of the late nineteenth century, one wouldn't have recognised Sydney harbour from the paintings; but some of them, such as Tom Roberts' A Break Away! and Arthur Streeton's Fire's On, have typical Australian colour. A novelty among the collection was Streeton's Sirius Cove, a thin vertical work very reminiscent of a Japanese scroll painting. The exhibition was rounded off by several works by John Russell.
As I was there, I took the opportunity to check out Paolo Uccello, whose paintings in the National Gallery had been referenced by the Tate with regard to the Menin Road painting I'd seen earlier. I suppose I could see monumental and narrative connections to a work like Saint George and the Dragon. Finally, I wandered to the eighteenth and nineteenth century galleries; it wasn't hard to find the Canalettos, the Turners and the Constables.