Back to London, and a busy weekend. This morning, to the Royal Academy for their new exhibition 'Citizens and Kings'. I thought the underlying thesis about styles in portraiture reflecting profound changes in society was a nice idea..... but in practice, I wasn't persuaded. Some magnificent pictures from the usual suspects - Lawrence, David, Gainsborough, Reynolds - and some fairly surprisingly awful things too, such as the menacing Ingres of Napoleon which is the first thing to greet you on arrival, and in fact looks as though it belongs in the pages of a comic book! The best thing of all was a portrait of Isabey, the painter, by Gerard.
As ever, the RA on a Sunday morning started with an hour of calm in the Friends' room, devoted to the Sunday newspapers, a reviving cup of coffee, and a Pain au Chocolat that was as light as air, with merely the suggestion of vanilla and butter, before discovering the rich nuggets of chocolate inside. Since it was largely comprised of air, it can only have been dietarily sound......and so, I had a second one. You can't do Art on an empty stomach....
Last night, we saw the new Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett film, 'Notes on a Scandal' . Excellent - although one couldn't help but feel sorry for the Cat! Followed it with a post-cinema supper of Cheese souffle (see below for the recipe - the Egg White mountain has once again achieved outsize proportions), Smoked Haddock with Coriander, and Baked Apples with Sultanas. Very Home and Hearth....Here now for the next ten days. Building work has started in Italy, and the ten day gap should give them a chance to get the noisy bit finished while we aren't there! (Note the operative word, 'should'.........)
Ravioli of Crottin de Chavignol, with a Red Pepper coulis.
Grilled Duck Breast, marinated in Thyme and Garlic.
Lime and Pistachio Posset.