It is an odd thing that when I am overseas I go into Museums and Art Galleries but I do this considerably less when at home (unless it is a historic house). I'm not entirely sure why this should be.
The National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery are both near the Coliseum and yesterday I had a nose around the National Portrait Gallery.
The exhibits range from around 1500 to the current day. I have to admit I'm not a big fan of 20th century art and my preference was for earlier works.
One of the things that struck me is the number of portraits of people who no doubt were famous in their time but today we've never heard of. Still it doesn't make them any less interesting to view. Indeed one of my favourite pictures was of a couple called Dacre. The detail and skill in the painting made me appreciate the talent of the artist.
There is a portrait. The Mission of Mercy: Florence Nightingale receiving the Wounded at Scutari by Jerry Barrett. For me the highlight is the two muslim girls at the extreme right. The veils and expressions are perfect and they alone would have made for a fascinating portrait. (if you click on the link you can see the painting).
Another fine portrait is of Ayuba Suleiman Dialloou a black muslim slave who came to London in 1733 and was freed from slavery after a public appeal. The portrait is on tour and will be at the National Portrait Gallery until 16th March 2014.
You can take photos inside (there are few paintings where you can't), I elected not to as I decided I'd rather spend my time appreciating the paintings. I apologise for those of you who may never get the opportunity to visit..... maybe another time.
Most of the museum is free (although a donation is suggested) and well worth a visit.