Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 50 - Elizabethan Portraits, National Gallery and The Beatles

Entrance to the National Portrait Gallery
Hubby and I went separate ways this afternoon.  I chose to go to the National Portrait Gallery that has an exhibition on Elizabeth I, and he opted for the National Gallery.

Elizabeth I & Her People explores the remarkable reign of Elizabeth I through the lives and portraiture of her subjects.
Elizabeth I - Ermine portrait attributed to Nicholas Hilliard c. 1585
The reign of Elizabeth I from 1558-1603 was a time of extraordinary enterprise. The changes that took place during her reign dramatically shaped the future of England and Wales.  The Church of England was securely established and over time much of the country embraced the Protestant faith. The known world was expanding through maritime exploration and trade, cities grew in size and population and the economy flourished and purpose built theatres opened to the public.

The exhibit not only had portraits, but Elizabethan clothing, jewelry and weapons on display.  When I was done going through the special exhibit, I moved on to the Tudor section and followed it with the Stuarts through to the Hanovers.

While I was visiting Elizabethan England, hubby was taking pictures of Trafalgar Square prior to entering the National Gallery.

Trafalgar Square
Today, they had a tuba-playing musician who had fire coming out of his instrument as he played.

Tuba Player on Trafalgar Square
Prior to separating, Hubby and I agreed to meet around 6 PM at the entrance to the crypt of St. Martin in the Fields, so we could have dinner in the crypt's cafe.  A bit unusual, since you are actually eating over places where people have been buried beneath the floor.

Entrance to the crypt
For tonight's dinner we had lamb curry, with rice pilaf, nan bread, and salad with yogurt dressing.  I opted for a glass of wine and added a strawberry and jersey cream yogurt for dessert.

Crypt dinner
St. Martins had a special concert of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nacht Music tonight that started at 6:30 PM and our table was reserved for concert attendees, so after eating we promptly left the crypt and started our way to the Savoy Theatre where we had tickets to "Let it Be."

The Crypt Cafe
Let It Be is a West End and Broadway jukebox musical, based on the career of English rock band, The Beatles, from 1962 to their breakup in 1969. The musical debuted at the Prince of Wales Theatre on 24 September 2012. Its run at the venue ended on 19 January 2013, after which it moved to the Savoy Theatre and opened on 1 February 2013.  There is no story to the musical, but the show indicates the passing of time through showing some videos of commercials and events that happen during The Beatles seven years together, and the performers change costumes to reflect the changing times.  I would have liked more story about the musicians and the changes they went through as well as the reasons for their eventual break up, but this was basically a concert show.  An enjoyable evening, but more nostalgic than informative.

We were allowed to take pictures, so hubby snapped quite a few during the performance which I will share with you below.

Savoy Theatre
After the show, we walked back to Covent Garden and took pictures of the Christmas lights that had been turned on earlier tonight.

We're back at our flat now, and getting ready for bed.  Hopefully tomorrow I can fill in a bit more information on the earlier days, but we leave on Tuesday and there's still a lot we want to do and see.  Until tomorrow, then....


  1. I love everything Elizabethan. I'll bet the gallery didn't allow photos, though. Most of the time they don't. I'll have to wait until I get there someday, and hope the exhibit is still running somewhere. Portrait galleries are very cool places. When we lived in DC, we went to the National Portrait Gallery several times, and there were always new faces to see (pun intended). I love the expressions, and the clothing styles, and the poses chosen by the artists.

    The Beatles retrospective sounds interesting, but I'd agree with you that some insights into their chemistry would have been better than just a concert-type thing. Inquiring minds want to know.

    Eating over a crypt is a little creepy, but not creepy enough to make me want to miss it. Good work putting it on your agenda!

  2. I love everything Tudor, Elizabethan included. The Stuarts fascinate me as well. A very violent time. Most of the paintings in the exhibit are available on line, including some that weren't in the exhibit. Let it Be was a nice job down memory lane, but it wasn't much more than that. I wasn't aware, until I did the research, that The Beatles were only together for 7 years. They were such a phenomenon in so small a time frame. As for it being creepy to eat in the crypt, I agree. At first it used to squick me out. I thought it was sacrilegious to eat over someone's grave, but that's the same sort of feeling I get when walking through Westminster Abbey. When we were here for Thanksgiving, we'd have Thanksgiving dinner in the crypt whenever it was possible. Thanks for visiting and commenting.