Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wonderful Windsor and Tantalizing Tate

Can't have too many photos of Windsor Castle... it is a beauty... and
from the 11 freakin hundreds (commissioned by William the Conquerer
originally as a defense stronghold... then turned into a prison... and now
funny enough is the Queen Mother's current weekend residence.
We took a 30 or so minute train to Windsor Castle (only 4.25 pounds- YESS). I gotta say, it was one of my fav destinations so far, perhaps helped along by the too-good-to-be-true weather (60's and sunny and a toucha breeze).

The first room we went into was called the Drawing Room and had several Da Vinci drawings (only a few of the 600 Leonardo Da Vinci sketches the Windsor owns) that were quite beautiful.
"Studies for the head of Leda"
Nuts how this is just a sketch of Da Vinci's and yet it is still so
beautiful! It said in the caption that he was practicing the hairstyle of
this goddess for a painting he was doing later. You can see the complete
collection of Da Vinci sketches the Windsor owns at the Royal Collection website.
As the Duke of Edinburgh's 90th birthday is coming up (June 10th, though the celebration is on the 12th), the Drawing Room had a special exhibition on him. The Duke of Edinburgh, Philip Mountbatten (perhaps better known as Queen Elizabeth's husband :) isn't talked about very much, which I thought was odd. I mean, Michelle Obama gets talked about quite I bit I think in the states. I hadn't even heard Philip's name until today in London, I'd heard not a word about him! Poor guy (or maybe lucky perhaps). I gotta show my ignorance for a second: in all honesty I thought the Queen's husband had passed away! I hadn't heard a peep about Philip this whole time and the plaque in Windsor said they were celebrating his 90th birthday in St. George's Chapel, which I thought was like a commemorative birthday ceremony in loving memory type thing. So I was pleasantly surprised when I realized the Duke of Edinburgh is still kickin.
Adorable, eh?  Both photos were in the exhibition at the castle.
The 1st photo was taken around 50 or so years ago, and the 2nd
is recent. But I'm diggin in the recreation pose. Queen Mother looks like
she even has the same brooch in both photos.
In fact, I was talking to the gift shop cashier at the castle and I asked her if the Queen really lived there. "Yes," she said. "But right now she's at Buckingham Palace. She comes to Windsor on the weekends."
Does Philip come with her? And how come we don't hear about him very much?
"Sometimes he comes with her, sometimes alone. And he's rather quiet. And quite cheeky."

That is a direct quote. WHAT? The Queen Mother's husband is CHEEKY and we don't hear about it? ha, I was disappointed.
The exhibition had several awesome wedding pics of the royal couple. Really.
It made me swoony to see a sliver of their personal lives. ha not
that royal weddings are very private mind you... but still.
The exhibition had an invitation to the Wedding Breakfast that was held in honor of the couple. Look at these 2 items that were on the menu:
                 Filet de Sote Mountbatten (for breakfast)
                 Bombe Glacee Princess Elizabeth (for dessert, of course)
Not joking. If you have food named after you, you know you have succeeded in life.

PS Duke of Edinburgh Philip is super talented! A modern day renaissance man I would say. He was a competition carriage driver, sailed, was a "keen amateur wildlife photographer", was a patron and enjoyer of around 600 charities and arts and science organizations, and wrote several books.
Photograph taken by Philip himself
"Duart Castle from the Sound of the Mull"
Oil painting, done by THE Philip. He's the man.
So... basically I find the Royal family fascinating. Another something funny? This whole exhibition about Philip was done in honor of his 90th birthday coming up, and here's what an online article said about it:
"The Queen has been consulted and has approved everything in the exhibition. The Duke, however, is known to hate any sort of fuss about himself. Asked if he would be opening the exhibition- or even attending it- a Palace spokesman yesterday admitted: 'I don't think so.'"
The whole article about the exhibition can be found here. Oh Philip, I think I would like to meet you.

The Royal Chapel (St. George's Chapel) is also located nearby Windsor Castle (the grounds for Windsor are 13 acres, so a lot is "nearby") and so naturally, I went in cause I love churches. And when it's called 'Royal' its no joke! There are many a King n Queen buried here! King Henry VIII (whom I love to hate. he's infuriatingly fascinating) and King Charles I (executed for treason eventually, he wanted himself as King to be able to overrule Parliament which the people didn't like, hence England's Civil War in the 1600's. Granny feel free to correct my British History if necessary :)
Henry VIII's gravestone is that black plaque in the
middle of the choir portion of the chapel. I was kinda
surprised Henry didn't make any statues for himself! I mean
he commissioned enough other stuff in England, that's for
sure! But the plaque did say that the remains were inlaid by a much later
King, so I'm not sure where Henry's grave was before this.
St. George's Chapel
Around two days ago, a few friends and I went the Tate Britain Museum. I'll tell you what, I'm a sucker for the art museums. A few cool things I saw:
"Ophelia" by John Everett Millais in 1851
Ahh, this photo just doesn't do it justice! It was so wispy and misty and
on a pretty big canvas with these smoky colors.
By James Abbott McNeil Whistler, a painting in his Nocturne: Blue and Silver
An unfinished (yet still a stunner) painting by famous Romanticist
JMW Turner
"Sun Setting Over a Lake" circa 1840
The Tate Britain had a ton of Turner's paintings. Somehow, the paint he used was so luminescent, gave off this sorta romantic glow that idealized all his images... I dunno, maybe it was the lighting in the museum, but whatever it was, was perfect.

Tate Britain Museum Front Doors

1 comment:

  1. So glad you got to visit Windsor Castle. I understand Queen Elizabeth prefers Windsor to Buckingham Palace. My Mum used to say (about the late Queen mother) "Every time the Queen has a baby, I have a baby" hence, Queen Elizabeth and I are the same age, and Princess Margaret (who died a few years ago) is the same age as your Auntie Thellie!