We have our first battle casualty today, Norah is taking a day off to rest and relax. Ed and I beaver on, but we are also wearing down.
First up is the Courtauld Gallery – it’s small and specializes in Impressionist and post-Impressionist art, not a keen interest for us. But we do enjoy their medieval and renaissance pieces, and the lovely building that houses the collection, Somerset House.
Somerset House is huge. The Gallery occupies only a small section in the front. Somerset House began as the home of the British Academy of Art, then went through various incarnations as government offices was recently remodeled, and is now totally devoted to art history and restoration as part of the University of London. The square in the middle of the compound must be tempting to developers as it sits right next to Westminster. Fortunately, the property is protected by the National Trust.
Next we walked back to the Inns of Court, to visit the Temple Church. On the way we passed the Courts of Justice and dropped in for visit. Anyone can enter a courtroom, unless it is marked as private. Brexit hearings were going on, but we could only get into the overflow rooms, viewing a TV transmission. We did visit an appeals hearing about a media distribution agreement.
Temple Church dates back to the 11th century and is lovely inside. Like most of the churches we visit, it is active, but this is not a parish. It is part of the Queen’s churches that report directly to her without management by a bishop. The chapels within the Tower of London are also part of this group.
St. Paul’s Cathedral, just a short walk back in the direction of Westminster, is our next stop. We do lunch there – nothing to write home about, so I won’t. I discover that our London Card does not cover St. Paul’s and it will cost £36 for us to visit. Normally, I would pay, but we are worn out, so walk around the outside, stick our heads into a side chapel and call it a visit. Home on the tube to rest because we have theater in the evening.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” is as good a play as it was a book. It’s difficult to make a book into a two plus hour play because of the need for radical simplification. Usually a narrator is involved and in this case, they have Christopher’s teacher reading from his journal to drive the plot. It all works. The sets are magical. The dramatic arc is plausible and the ending is sad and realistic. The National Theatre is touring this play in the U.S. from now through the end of the year. If it comes to your city, don’t miss it.