Paintings, ceilings and cassones: art as you have yet to see it?

The Strand block of Somerset House, designed b...

The Strand block of Somerset House, designed by William Chambers from 1775–80, has housed the Courtauld Institute of Art since 1989. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We went to the Courtauld Gallery this snowy Monday with some friends. It is situated right on the Embankment, in the confines of Somerset House. It is the centre of an Institute for Art – which specialises in art history and conservation and the collection was gathered by Mr Samuel Courtauld himself. And what a collection he made…. It is true that he bought some paintings when the painters were less famous than now but still.

I took photos of some that took my fancy the most. But I also loved the building and photographed some ceilings and then there was some magnificent furniture. If you ever get the chance to come to London do go to it. It may not be large and imposing but it has the best collection ….


My husband and I love the Impressionists and the collection had quite a few.  Matisse said – ‘Impressionism is the newspaper of the soul’. What a very interesting way to think of it!


Braque also said: ‘In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that cannot be explained’. I suspect that also explains some of Braque’s art.

This collection also has some magnificent furniture and I have included the details of just what it is you are seeing in the photos, as they are so old, and are so interesting in what they depict.

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The above is the ‘backboard’ mentioned – it was hanging on the wall above the chests, and has what seems to be a pair of curtains drawn back and a scene within.



Now quite how the rape and subsequent suicide of the wife belongs on a marriage gift I am far from sure. These people had some strange ideas of suitability!


One of the magnificent ceilings in the rooms. Not all the ceilings were still original. Some had been re-created but still all were very fine indeed.


I just had to take the one below as it shows a railway line – as it was once – not that far from where we now live – believe me these green fields no longer exist!

Oh and by the way, the gallery has a wonderful cafe. They serve different cakes for each special exhibition they stage. I was disappointed to hear that the beetroot cake and the lavender cake were no longer available, but I had a great rhubarb crumble cake instead. Portion sizes were enormous! Very good value.

Photos from the Courtauld Gallery. Some showing paintings. Some showing magnificent furniture and some showing the ceilings.

Photos from the Courtauld Gallery. Some showing paintings. Some showing magnificent furniture and some showing the ceilings.

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