- Written April 2011
To a private view with friends
Losing a grip on the catalogue
Yet comfortable with their own history
Once wise and sometimes foolish
Lamps trimmed for the bridegroom
Oil daubed layer upon layer
Row upon row on canvas
With neither palette nor brush
Just a pencil full of blunt verse
Back to front against the elbow
And upside down in the mind
As we step into the frame
Face to face with the painter.
William Powell Frith positioned himself centrally, and just below the portrait of Disraeli, in his painting: A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881. This highlights the contrast between lasting historical achievements and mere passing fads. It was the subject of another private viewing under the title: 'Wise and Foolish Women', organised by the Royal Academy of Art's ‘Access for All’ program for groups with various disabilities.
Click here for a larger image of the painting.
Other poems written after a visit to the Royal Academy of Art: The Artist; Yesterday Belongs to Us; Van Gogh's Good Friday;