Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dining and sketching at the Tate Britain Restaurant

Dining at Tate Britain
11.5" x 17" pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Daler Rowney A4 sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

As a treat for Shirley's last visit to London, and following our morning visit to the Turner Watercolours exhibition we had lunch in the Rex Whistler restaurant at Tate Britain.

I was able to make the reservation on-line and also made a request to have a place in the restaurant where we could sketch. They did us proud and we sat next to one another on one of the banquette seats at the side and were able to have a good view of the room, its amazing mural around all the walls and the diners.
The specially commissioned mural which envelopes the restaurant is titled The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats and was finished by Rex Whistler in 1927. In the mural Whistler presents an imaginary world in which Classical, Renaissance and Georgian architecture sit next to ancient chariots, modern bicycles, and landscapes ranging from the far east, jungles and the pastoral European countryside. Tate Britain website
I sketched before, between and after my starter of steamed mussels and clams with chive creme fraiche followed by Gressingham Duck Breast with braised gem lettuce and grean bean veloute and a side order of green beans. Yum yum! Those who love their wine might wish to note that the wine list is legendary!)

Besides providing us with a set-up to sketch, what I also appreciate in restaurants like this one is that the tables are not too close together so that there is a pleasant hum in the background of people talking but you can still hear yourself and your companion speak. My sketch is done on a double spread in my A4 Daler Rowney sketchbook - which means the sketch is about 11.5" x 17". It was completed using my media of choice - pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils.

Afterwards we returned to the Colour and Line exhibition and did some sketching from facsimiles of Turner originals. This was my effort - which was taken from A Bridge in the Grande Chartreuse 1802. Click on the image to see a larger version. Turner often sketched and did colour studies on coloured papers or toned grounds.

Why not try drawing from Turner for yourself? You can see more of the Turner collection which is online here.

You can also see the online version of the recent Drawing from Turner exhibition - which involved artists today drawing works by Turner. This page on the website talks about the tradition of copying by Turner and from Turner.

After that I hit the bookshop, my wallet whined some more at me and then I toured round the Tate Britain galleries showing art from the 18th-19th Centuries - including works by John Singer Sargent and Waterhouse, Rossetti and Millais and Constable folllowed by a minor collapse on a sofa with a cup of tea in the Members' Room!

And I now know where the sketching stools are kept! They're in a room opposite the entrance to the members' room!

[Update: Here's the link to Shirley's entry for his visit on her sketchblog Paper and Threads. I've also updated the link in the right hand column so that it now links to the 'London' label on Shirley's blog and means that you can now see all of Shirley's sketches in London on her visits over 2006/7 - which now fill three sketchbooks.]



  1. Lovely sketch, and such a wealth of info on the Turner exhibit. I enjoyed all the links. Thank you.

  2. I've sketched in the same place! Which reminds me, I wish I had time to pursue my project that would allow artists to share work by location. Wouldn't it be great if you could form a URL that shows all art produced of the same room? You had some good suggestions about this, and I suppose a type of geo-tagging scheme would be needed. But then you'd need an application overlay, like a Google Maps or Google Earth...

    Oh well. I need to focus on painting. Maybe I'll do this when I retire--although I'm sure someone will beat me to it.

  3. You never know it could be me! I've been tracking down software to do it as I think it's an ace idea.


I always check identities and ALL links in comments for spam.

Due to excessive attempts to introduce spam via comments on this blog, I've introduced a regime where all comments with links in the ID or text to the websites of hotels/resorts/tourist destinations will NOT be approved and are deleted. The websites of repeat spammers are also reported to Google.

Nice, sensible people who are not new to blogging probably don't need to read my Comments Policy