London 1 – Caulfield, Hulme and Some Bloke Called Lowry

It’s that time of year when the Management and I pop down to London for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Last year it had finished by the time we went down to London. “Don’t go to London while the Olympics/Paralympics are on! All the hotels are charging ten times normal rates and the traffic has ground to a halt!” In fact, there were fewer people in London than normal with the exception of immediately around the Olympic Park and we could have easily seen the RA show.

So on Sunday morning we were whisked at high speed to London in just over two hours. (This is the point when our colonial cousins who live in huge countries and need to travel for days to reach the nearest city become envious!) Unfortunately Boris, the Mayor, had organised a bike race without consulting us, so we finished up having to travel by tube rather than bus, but we got to our destination which, for Sunday, was Tate Britain.

They had combined tickets for sale. This meant that I could buy a ticket for the Patrick Caulfield exhibition but also go to the Lowry one, while the Management’s ticket for the Lowry also let her in the Caulfield. So we could stay together. (There was a point where I was on the point of suggesting that I went to the Caulfield while she went to the Lowry.)

Laurence Stephen Lowry… Aye, I’m from t’North. Aye, I’m proud to be a Yorkshireman. (Tha can allus tell a Yorkshireman – but tha can’t tell ‘im much!) Aye, I remember terraced streets and industry in t’North. Nay, I don’t like Lowry.

There were some interesting paintings in the first room. They were by van Gogh, Seurat and Pissaro and were used to show where Lowry ‘came from’. There were one or two interesting drawings too, for some of which Lowry used a ruler for the straight lines on buildings. I’m not sure Valette or who ever was teaching him would have approved. Most art teachers don’t.

Our friend Beatrice, who called me a Philistine for not liking the Chagall exhibition at Tate Liverpool recently, adores Lowry. I’m going to have to select my words very carefully next time we visit her.


The Patrick Caulfield was delightful! I had to study his work as part of the first unit of my OCA course. He uses large flat areas of colour often with a black outline. His later work often has realistic features such as these door handles.



There are more works by Caulfield on my research piece for my OCA course.

The Caulfield ticket allowed us to go to see an exhibition by Gary Hulme who I didn’t know apart from the fact that he is a British artist. Sorry! Didn’t like his work, with two exceptions – a blackbird on a branch (which was used on the t-shirts and mugs in the shop, so must be regarded as the most commercial) and a red barn door where, although it was one single colour all over, he had used masking in some way to get a thin ridge of paint to separate the ‘planks’ of the door. The one thing I did take from the exhibition was the possibility of using gloss paint as a medium for art.

The Management wanted a sit down at this point so I left her in the café area while I went to seek out Walter Sickert’s Amelia Earhart’s Arrival which I had blogged about when it was Work of the Week just over a year ago. Since then, Tate Britain has been reorganised and this particular painting is ‘currently not on display’, according to the nice young man with the ipad. However I did see a few others I knew from photographs but had never seen ‘in the flesh’, including Whistler’s Nocturne in Blue and Gold which I had copied in pastels at Rachel’s college class. I was pleased to see the original was hung the correct way up, unlike mine!


Other paintings I saw included Richard Dadd’s The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke, which I had first come across in Richard Rankin’s Novel The Witches of Chiswick, and Nevinson’s La Mitrailleuse which I had reacquainted myself with while looking for images recently for my Art Quote of the Day site.

So that was Sunday! Watch this space for Monday at the Royal Academy!


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website
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8 Responses to London 1 – Caulfield, Hulme and Some Bloke Called Lowry

  1. Sounds like you’ve seen some good pictures – glad to hear that the Whistler is hanging the right way up! I like your prints – I found screen printing hard to do, so admire your skill. Looking forward to hear your thoughts on the RA Summer Exhibition. 🙂

    • They probably were all good. After all they were on display in a major mational institution. However, I liked some and didn’t like others.
      One thing I forgot to mention about the Lowry exhibition was that most of the paintings were on loan from public galleries in Manchester and Salford which we can normally see down the road for free.

  2. Nancy Farmer says:

    this may be the sort of point a pedant/nerd would make but what an odd frame that Whistler is in! The pattern seems to be done by hand, and that irritating, distracting bit on the right is really bugging me! Still, as you say, glad they got it the right way up 😉

  3. That’s the problem with these down market galleries – stick any old frame on it and think it’ll do! Actually it was probably the high of fashion when it was painted. I wonder what people will think of the thin frames around Caulfield’s paintings in a hundred years.

  4. oooh The Fairy Fellas Masterstroke. That takes me right back to the mid ’70s, when Dadd was very popular. I had a jigsaw of it from The Tate, sadly lost during my peripatetic rock chick lifestyle at the time.

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