The sun was out this morning over the fields and down by the river:-
It’s a wintry morning. The river is high, higher than I’ve ever seen, no hope of crossing it as the stepping stones are far below:-
The real reason why I wanted to call in on the NPG was to see Henry VII before he goes out on loan or into cold storage: one of the most fascinating portraits in the collection (NPG 416), documented by its inscription as having been painted by order of Herman Rinck, an agent for Maximilian I in the abortive negotiations round Henry’s possible marriage to Margaret of Austria. I’ve always been fascinated by how much it seems to tell one about Henry’s character – careful, scrupulous, reticent, if one is still allowed to read portraits in relation to character:-
Done by an unknown artist, but so beautifully, one wants to know about the artist as well as the sitter.
His left hand:-
Given the imminent closure of the NPG (actually, not until 29 June), I thought I should call in as I was in the area. I was so pleased to see that Leonard McComb’s estate has bequeathed his Self-portrait which in on display on what used to be the Royal landing, together with his very fine portrait of Doris Lessing. His Self-portrait well conveys his personality – earnest and quietly determined, a bit of a loner and a beautiful draftsman. It was done in 2002 when he had stood down as Keeper at the Royal Academy and was living in Brixton; but I don’t remember the moustache:-
It was the publication day today of DixonJones 2, the second volume of the Complete Works of Dixon.Jones, taking the practice from their work on the National Gallery, including the Getty Entrance and Annenberg Court, through their work on the pedestrianisation of Exhibition Road, Jeremy’s beautiful concert hall at King’s Place, Ed’s Villa Jones at Bargemon, to their work on the masterplan for the Chelsea Barracks site and works I know less well like Marlborough Primary School in Chelsea and 35, Marylebone High Street: always well judged, urbane, sympathetic to the surrounding environment, the product of good thinking and design, all of which is beautifully recorded in the book through text, plans, drawings and photographs.