March 26, 1991
A wonderful day. We all went to the Tate Gallery in London. We came across a lecturer who was speaking to a group of school children about Turner. He was so fascinating that we followed him all over the gallery. The Turners were magnificent – I was most impressed with some very impressionist paintings of Venice, done a good 40 or 50 years before Monet & friends.
We had a delicious lunch in the Tate restaurant, which is just about the most delightfully whimsical room I have ever been in. It is decorated with a mural depicting the search of a royal party for exotic food to tempt their jaded palates. The mural is by Rex Whistler*, who painted it when he was 23!
Started lunch with grilled, spiced crab. Dad & I had guinea fowl, and Margaret had game casserole. We had half a bottle of 1985 chablis and half a bottle of 1985 Puligny-Montrachet. We all enjoyed the chablis the most. We finished with profiteroles in an intense chocolate sauce. It was all incredible.
After lunch, we looked at the small collection of Impressionists, inclusing a lovely Monet of a summer day.
Dad’s old friend, CW, came for dinner. We had a delightful evening discussing everything under the sun, but especially wine. CW is a fascinating man, and I imagine he’s a very good teacher – he teaches at the University of Reading and also orders their wine. We had a New Zealand and an Australian chardonnay with dinner, which was chicken in sherry, apples, and raisins with rice. So it was a day of one pleasure after another – beautiful artwork, exquisite food, and good conversation!
*Not to be confused with James Abbott McNeil Whistler, of “Whistler’s Mother” fame. Rex Whistler was an English artist who specialized in exquisite trompe l’oeil murals, some of which can still be seen at National Trust houses throughout Britain, my favorite being Plas Newydd in Wales. Whistler died in action in 1944 at the age of 36. His memorial, created by his brother, is a glorious crystal engraving at Salisbury Cathedral.