Day 4—Tuesday, May 15, 2012
A Such a typical London day: first it was pouring down so hard I had to buy an umbrella at the British Museum; then the sun came out and it was so hot we were shedding layers like a bunch of hyper-active snakes, puddles of clothing accumulating around our feet. Then it turned nasty again, this time with a strong blowing wind. I was looking forward to coming up to my spacious attic room to curl up and watch the rain from a comfortably warm perch, and lo—the sun is out again!
We started out with a visit to the Bloomsbury Squares where Woolf and her friends and siblings lived. But the big highlight of our Bloomsbury Day was spending an hour or so at Tony Bradshaw’s apartment near the British Museum looking at original art by Dora Carrington, Duncan Grant, and Vanessa Bell—several paintings, oil sketches, and a number of wood and linoleum cuts. Several people feel rather in love with Duncan Grant’s work, and I noticed a much greater interest in going to see the paintings at the Tate Britain.
Went to British Museum where we were disappointed to find the reading room totally closed up. It’s being used as an exhibition space during the Olympics and then being totally remodeled. Had lunch and then sent the girls to the Elgin Marbles while I went to the Vollard/Picasso exhibit of etchings.
Took the tube down to the National Portrait Gallery where we toured the late Victorian/ early modern rooms, looking for Bloomsberries and I tried my best to entertain with salacious stories, but all the girls were so wiped out they could barely keep their heads up. They brightened up a little when I showed them Cecil Court, just off Charing Cross Road, one of the supposed inspirations for Diagon Alley, but they were even too tired to go shopping for the extra sweaters they need. Despite my packing guidelines, they just couldn’t imagine anywhere could be this cold in May, and I have to admit that I didn’t pack enough long-sleeved stuff and wished I’d packed more cords.