Friday, June 20, 2008

Tea at Fortnum and Masons after the Summer Exhibition

Cream tea at Fortnum and Masons after the Summer Exhibition
(in the old Patio Restaurant)
5.5" x 8", pencil in Daler Rowney Sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

On the 6th June 2004 I went to see the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly and then went across the road for a cream tea in the Patio Restaurant at Fortnum and Masons (now sadly no more due to a refurbishment). I know this as I've just found the small sketchbook which I'd lost which contains this sketch and the bill for the pot of Darjeeling and the cream tea!

This sketch was done using a mechanical pencil in an A6 size Black hardback black sketch book by Daler Rowney. I used a double paged spread and the sketch is about 5.5" x 8". As alway when sketching in a tea room or a restuarant, you never know when people are coming or going and I do remember that the people sketched in this one were never all in the room at the same time.

The Patio Restaurant (on the Mezzanine) has now been replaced by the Gallery Restaurant - which only serves a seasonal taster menu. Proper afternoon tea is now taken in armchairs or on larger more confortable tables in the St James Restaurant (on the 5th floor). This is a lot more airy and has much more space - meaning you always seem to be guaranteed to get a seat. Something which was not always possible in the old and much smaller Patio Restaurant.

The Summer Exhibition was first held in a warehouse on Pall Mall in 1769. The number of visitors to the annual show from 1769-2007 is over 33 million. This year the 240th Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts is on until 17th August. The theme of the exhibition this year is "Man Made". £25,000 has been awarded to Jeff Koons for ‘Cracked Egg (Blue)’ by a panel of judges appointed by the President and Council for the most distinguished work in the exhibition.

According to the Guardian, in an interview many years ago he described his idea of pleasure - which was dining with a group of friends........

I think taking afternoon tea with friends is very nearly as good and it's certainly still a very popular activity at Fortnum and Masons!

Note: This post was based on one which first appeared on Making A Mark on 19th May 2006 - but it has been updated for changes and new material has also been included.

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