We find that, with both of us filling our days with a variety of responsibilities, if there’s something we’d both like to do, we need to put in on the calendar well in advance. We’d earmarked Friday 25th as one of those days, so when I had a call from the office to ask if I could drop in for an hour, I made sure it was “first thing”, so’s not to interfere with our plans.
It was a glorious Autumn day, too. Just meant to be. I’d finished in the office by 10 so we got a good start and were heading up the Fosse Way in good time, even though our intended destination didn’t open until 1pm. We thought it was a great opportunity to drop into a favourite place: Compton Verney, take a look around and maybe have a spot of lunch. I wondered whether to make use of one of my membership perks and book a table, it being Friday and all, but thought we’d go with the flow and sort something out whilst there.
The great thing about Compton Verney is that there is always something to delight. On this occasion, it was a small gallery of drawings worked in biro by Albert H Barnett.
The detail in each and the sheer enthusiasm with which they were drawn was immediately appealing and in spite of the difficult lighting, I couldn’t resist taking one or two photographs. They were drawn on whatever paper he had to hand – the back of envelopes, the lined page from a notebook, whatever and though the spelling was a little creative in places, the charm shone through.
A great reminder for those of us who forget to keep up with their daily drawings!
Much of the permanent collection here is pretty familiar but it’s always good to rediscover and enjoy the small changes which happen in the months between our visits. On Friday, they were between exhibitions, so we had the place more or less to ourselves and without the temptation to focus on the new and exciting, we could dawdle and play around a little.
After all, who doesn’t like to interact This simple set of blocks for creating a repeat design is so clever and offers endless fun for those who like to fiddle about (and those who like to mess it up!)
Of course, I couldn’t leave without saying hello to my favourite piece. I’ve written about it here before and since then, seen similar vessels a little closer to its place of origin. But it remains my favourite and sitting in a newly refurbished gallery, it was looking as stunning as ever.
It was displayed along with a few pieces on loan which I hadn’t seen before, including this beautiful wine vessel.
The staff member on duty shared my enthusiasm and pointed out that the colours matched my jeans, malachite green cardi and blue/green/brown scarf perfectly!
We chatted a while about the new display arrangements and the spectacular lighting which makes the glass in front of these beautiful items disappear. Not only that, but I was impressed by the new reference system, using silhouettes of each object rather than numbers.
The silhouettes were used on other information panels around the gallery and were a really effective point of reference.
The silhouettes were also put to great effect in the family room, where visitors had created all kinds of variations for designs on their favourite vessels in the collection.
In fact, the commitment to families and younger visitors is impressive here, with themed backpacks available to borrow. I could be tempted to make use of one myself!
Anyway, with lunchtime fast approaching, we scuttled through the ground floor galleries with only a brief stop to note the look on this Elizabethan chap’s face. He doesn't look too impressed, does he? (We can’t remember his name but my hero remembers that he was knighted during one of the Queen’s Royal Progresses and he thinks he came from Norfolk!)
The arrangement of these four beauties amused me, too.
Time for lunch then. Would we find a free table in the (excellent and frequently very busy) restaurant?
No problem. We had no need to worry. We were the only ones there
Join me to read about the “main event” in the next post.