After our visit to the Queens Gallery to see From Bruegel to Rubens - Masters of Flemish Painting we walked across Green Park and up to Piccadilly to visit the bookshops.
"He who must not be bored while I sketch" should know by now that when I say "must have a cup of tea" and drag him into a building that what I actually want is a cup of tea....and a sketch.
He passed on tea at the Ritz saying we wouldn't pass the dress code(!) so I took him next door to The Wolseley at 160 Piccadilly. This is a cafe-restuarant in what's known as the "Grand European tradition" and the building is Grade 2 listed. Each day it serves over 1,000 people between 7am and midnight.
Fortuitously we got a table right next to the entrance which gave me a great vantage point. So I ordered a pot of Earl Grey and armed HWMNBBWIS with a copy of the Financial Times and I sat down to sketch in the time it takes for him to read his paper and for me to drink two cups of tea. The best bit was listening to what the Maitre D had to say to the people who were arriving for tea. The worst bit was I kept losing my view as people lined up to be seated!
To me the room looked like a curious mix of ocean going liner from the 30s (walls, floor and metal work) crossed with Viennese cafe (cakestands) - although apparently I got the architectural influences all wrong. I gather it started off as a prestigious car showroom and then became a bank!
In 1921, Wolseley Motors Limited commissioned the architect, William Curtis Green, to design a prestigious car showroom in London’s West End. He drew on Venetian and Florentine influences and made the interior very atmospheric with its grand pillars, arches and stairways.I think I'm going to have to go back and have another go at it's definitely an interior I'd like to sketch again.
I finished up by visiting the art section of Hatchards and spent far too much on art books again! New bookshelves need to reach the top of the 'to do' list!