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Tuesday 26th November – 37th meeting of 2013

We met as usual at Charing Cross today and walked along the Strand to Somerset House to view the Stanley Spencer exhibition ‘Heaven in a Hell of War’. A bright but chilly day made the walk very pleasant. All the shops decorated and in full swing for Christmas lots of tinsel, baubles and lights.

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Once at Somerset House we stopped to look at the Ice Rink which was full of people skating and with the music accompanying them we were feeling very very Christmassy!!

We made our way to the free exhibition of Stanley Spencer paintings. The paintings are being housed temporarily at Somerset House from their permanent home at the National Trust’s Sandham Memorial Chapel. The Chapel, which is being renovated was commissioned to house Spencer’s wartime paintings. Spencer (1891-1959) was a pioneer of twentieth-century figurative painting.

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There were 17th very large paintings along with other exhibits that covered three rooms. All were wartime scenes from Spencer’s experience when he was a war artist and focussed on scenes from daily life and his ‘very happy imaginative feelings’ rather than the horrors of war. The extreme detail and painting techniques were amazing but on a person note I was not so keen on this interpretation.

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It was laid out very well and was very busy with a large group having a guided tour.

On the way out we went into another part of Somerset House which was housing a Christmas Market.  Very enjoyable with lots of really beautiful hand crafted gifts and knick-knacks for Christmas. This market was also very busy and certainly gave us all a Christmas feel.

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We walked back to Charing Cross and got our trains home after a very enjoyable morning which got me in the spirit of Christmas!! London really is a fabulous town and with all the added joy of Christmas a lovely and exciting place to spend a morning.

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