Chasing Vermeer brought us to Kenwood House, to which we traveled by tube, bus and shank’s mare. This was on the list because the collection includes a Vermeer for Alison the Vermeer completist.
The house, on the edge of Hampstead Heath, was designed in the 18th century by architect Robert Adam and filled with art collected by Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, who bequeathed it to the nation in 1927.
Okay, enough of the Wikipedia facts – what is it like? Well, it’s an imposing building
gray before gray became a thing. Inside, the architectural highlight is this library. Airy, light, delicate and a joy to behold. I admired the design of the rug in the center
and the library ladder in one corner.
In contrast to this colorful room, the rest of the house has plain wooden floors and a somewhat utilitarian look. But the paintings! Here is the Vermeer,
not a favorite but still fascinating.
And here is the sleeper of the collection (at least to me). Rembrandt did many self-portraits over the years, but this is the most arresting of the ones I’ve seen. I could have stayed and looked at it for hours.
Apart from one very chatty room guide who barely let us escape from his informative talk, we enjoyed Kenwood and wished (at least one of us did) that we could come back in the spring to stroll through the gardens and on to the heath.
We had carefully planned our lunch (as when have we not?) at the Spaniards Inn, a short walk away. (By Philip Halling, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32400249)
Known to Dickens, Byron, Bram Stoker and Keats, it was built in the 16th century and is still going strong with an open fire, lots of little low-ceilinged rooms and a full house for the traditional Sunday roast. We were pleased that not only tourists were there, it seemed most patrons were actual English people.
Here’s the roast beef dinner with Yorkshire pudding and two veg. Plus a glass of red wine, since we are on holiday.
We followed this extravaganza with, of course, sticky toffee pudding. Scrumptious!
We walked, bussed and tubed back home and made our way to Stanfords, a travel bookshop that Ann and I had visited years ago on our Cornwall trip.
(Thanks to this blogger for the pic)
We bought several maps and books of walks for our England trip next year, and I noted a couple books that might be fun to track down once we’re home. This one might be the story of our fall trip to Spain:
This is just out of interest since I grew up with “My Family and Other Animals.”
Dinner tonight was at a pub on Charing Cross Road, because we were, unbelievably, just a little hungry again. Back to the tidy little hotel room for our last night
The next morning we got an early cab to Heathrow, and home. A great trip!