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Blog: Kenwood Culture

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On Saturday The Route Of My Walk and I headed over to scenic Hampstead Heath to finally fulfil a long-held ambition to see the ART in Kenwood House. We've been STROLLING on Hampstead Heath many many times over the years (it is Quite Nice) but never actually managed to get inside and see the aforesaid ART, so this time we were determined to make it.

Thus we found ourselves STOMPING up Parliament Hill at the Ungodly time of LUNCH time on a Sunday (we really were determined) and into Kenwood itself. As soon as we entered the building we were accosted by a volunteer who told us THE LOT about the house and very handily told us the four main things to look for: two paintings, the library, and Dido Belle. This was all news to me - the cafe was the only thing I was aware of previously - but I did not wish to appear VULGAR so nodded knowleadgably.

We wandered round into another room and were again ACCOSTED by a volunter. The place was FULL of them, all very keen to tell you stuff. I asked about THE REMBRANDT and he pointed it out behind me, tucked casually behind a door. It was amazing - it's a REALLY REALLY REALLY famous self-portrait (this one) and there it was in a FREE museum in a public park! We waited a minute or so for a group to move away and then the two of us stood right up close to it having a good old PRIVATE VIEW. It was amazing!

Also in that room was The Guitar Player by Mr J Vermeer, which was fab, but both of us liked the painting by Frans Hals of his PAL the best. It was LOVELY - it looked like an old CHUM grinning at you! The Paint On My Brush said "It's like the Laughing Cavalier", and LO! it turns out it was done by THE SAME GUY. Shortly afterwards we saw another painting where i said "It looks like that bloke, whatsisname of Derby" and LO AGAIN! it totally WAS by Joseph Wright of Derby. WOT a pair of CONNOISSEURS we are!

We also saw the LIBRARY (posh, smelt a bit like my Nan's old spare room), more GRATE ART, a lot of paintings of Posh People pretending to be Shakespeare characters, and a display about Dido Belle. It was all VERY interesting and, as I say, amazing to see all for free in a building in a park, but when we'd circumnavigated the ground floor I was glad to be able to STEER us out and round to the cafe before The Pictures In My Gallery realised there was a whole other FLOOR to look at. I think it is wise to STOP looking at art before you go completely BOOGLY eyed, and we can always go back another time!

It was dead good though and I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone. I would also recommend popping into The Garden Gate where I had TWO of the nicest pints of Ubu I have ever had!

posted 31/10/2016 by MJ Hibbett

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