Thursday, June 06, 2013

Cheese and biscuits at Fortnum & Mason

Yesterday I went to the Royal Academy of Arts for the press view of the Summer Exhibition - which opens to the Friends' Private Views tomorrow and to the Public on Saturday.

Cropwell Bishop Stilton with Chutney And Fortnum’s Cheese Crackers
pen and ink and coloured pencils, 8" x 10" in Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
 I have an annual tradition of crossing the road to Fortnum & Mason for a bite to eat after the exhibition.  One of the things I love about the Gallery Restaurant is it never matters what time you turn up - they have a menu for it!  (see the end for information about opening times and links to menus).

I had their Table d'Hote Lunch which gave me a breather between the Summer Exhibition and the Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition run by the David Shepherd Foundation.  It turned into a bit of an investigation of eyesight and sketching.

Sketching as eyesight testing!

I think I overloaded my eyes with visual information in the morning because I found it very difficult to sketch over lunch.  I started four but couldn't make much progress.  However I did learn something which will be helpful when it comes to prescription glasses.

First I think my eyes were crying out for a rest from looking!  I'm thinking it must be quite a lot for the brain to adjust to when you change vision very quickly (see Day surgery sketching at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Postoperative checkup at Moorfields Eye Clinic). 

 When I sketched at the post-op clinic last week, it was in the morning and I'd not been "looking" beforehand and my eyes were more rested - and as a result there were few problems sketching.  This time I'd spent a long time looking at lots of art in a fairly intent way during the morning and my eyes would have been very tired in any case - even if they hadn't had a recent operation.  Constant switching of focal length is very tiring even if your eyesight is perfect. However my experience yesterday was worse than usual (see a comparable lunch post Summer Exhibition)

Second, I know I was having problems with switching between  viewing the art on the walls and reading my catalogue with the "make do" magnifiers  I'm using while I wait for proper prescription glasses.  That problem will be resolved by having the right prescription - round about the beginning of July.

The view from my table
Gallery Restaurant, Fortnum & Mason 5 June 2013

pen and ink and coloured pencils, 8" x 10" in Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
I found it much easier to sketch the cheese and biscuits than I did the scene in the restaurant.  You can see that sketch on the right.  I think it's very "sketchy" but not in a good way!

The cheese and biscuits were probably much easier because the sketchbook was parked in front of the plate of cheese and biscuits and my eyes didn't have to adjust constantly for different distances

In the end I decided the problem with the sketching in Fortnum & Mason was probably down to:

  • having to constantly switch between distance vision for viewing and near vision for reading during the morning and 
  • not yet having the correct prescription glasses for the right distance.

It did also make me wonder whether reading glasses or computer glasses would be best option for sketching.

As a result I've decided I'm going to take my sketchbook with me when I go to get my eyes examined for my new prescription glasses!  Then we can measure out the length between eyes and sketchbook!

A cheeseboard
from a previous visit

Links to previous sketches at Fortnum and Mason:

NOTES re. Venues

Royal Academy 245th Summer Exhibition 10 June — 18 August 2013
In the Main Galleries, Burlington House, Piccadilly
Sponsored by Insight Investment

Fortnum and Mason: The Gallery Restaurant, Ground Floor (overlooks Food Hall)  - entrance via Food Hall
Morning: Monday to Saturday 10am to 12pm | Menu (also applies in the afternoon)
Lunch: Monday to Saturday 12pm to 5pm; Sunday 11:30am to 5pm | Menu
Afternoons: Monday to Sunday 3pm to 6pm | Afternoon Tea Menu

1 comment:

  1. Fortnums and the RA= a marriage made in heaven. I am drinking Fortnum's smoky earl grey as I read this.
    and I am often tempted to wander up to Ladurees.


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