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In praise of the permanent collection ..


I went to the National Gallery on Monday. I didn’t go to see a temporary exhibition, or attend an event, or even visit the café or shop. I went to look at the permanent collection – and it was wonderful to walk around the Gallery’s many rooms and see so many familiar, and unfamiliar, paintings. The rooms were largely empty, although there had been a large queue to get in to the Gallery when I arrived at opening time. It’s so easy to forget the extraordinary permanent collections in our museums and galleries, and in London, many of them are free to visit.

This was one of the paintings I saw, Anthony van Dyck’s magnificent Equestrian Portrait of Charles I (1637-8).

charles i


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