I handed-in two paintings at the Royal Academy on Monday for (hopeful) inclusion in the Summer Exhibition. Each year the queue seems to get longer – this year it stretched almost to Burlington Arcade. One strange looking man had made himself comfortable in a telephone box at the back entrance to the RA declaring that he’d brought his paintings on the wrong day and was intending to sleep the night there. I’m not sure he was telling the truth as he’d even brought a makeshift bed. When we finally emerged from the bowels of the Academy and had lunch in Piccadilly my young friend and I decided to walk across Green Park and visit the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace.
The Mews is not a museum. It’s a working establishment and there you can, from time to time, see some of the thirty-four horses and staff in training. After looking at some of the horses in their immaculate stables we wandered through to the large open quadrangle surrounded by a large number of Landaus, State Coaches and Royal cars.
Then on to the wonderful Gold State Coach
. Built in 1762 and commissioned by King George III, it weighs about 4 tons and needs 8 horses to draw it. It’s absolutely magnificent and is displayed with full-size models of four horses and two Postillian riders – all wonderfully lifelike.