Tate visits Home of Compassion

As part of our Talkative Tuesday monthly event, the Home of Compassion in Thames Ditton were delighted to welcome Tate Britain into our home to give a presentation.  Held in our Priory 1st Floor dining room, Marcus, who has been a curator at the Tate for over fifteen years, wowed the thirty strong audience with his depth of knowledge and sparkling wit.  Amongst our audience we had folk from local charities, church communities, day centres plus residents and their families.

During his talk he described how Tate had been set up by the sugar magnate, Mr Tate of Tate and Lyle fame.  Originally the building had been the Prison Of Millbank, which housed inmates who were to be transported to Australia, and there is a rumour that is where the term POM comes from to describe English people.

Tate Britain houses British art from the sixteenth century to the current day and we were introduced to the oldest piece in their collection, the The Cholmondely Ladies painted by an Unknown British Artist in 1590.  This piece is painted on wood and has an inscription advising us that these ladies were married on the same day and had their babies on the same day.

Marcus also brought along handling objects for people to feel.  The first was a traditional horse’s bridle, the type used during Constable’s period so we could appreciate the weight and texture he was trying to portray in his painting of Salisbury Cathedral.  We were also treated to handling not one but three Alberto Giacometti Bust of Diego bronze sculptures, which were surprisingly heavy for their small size.

No Tate presentation would be complete without mentioning Orphelia by Sir John Everett Millais, who gave his sitter a slight case of hypothermia as she had to lie in a river at dusk repeatedly until he completed the work.  We also learnt how the sculpture of Jacob and the Angel by Jacob Epstein was once a curiosity in a touring side show which advised it was only suitable for an adult audience.  Thankfully it now resides safely within the hallowed walls of the gallery.

The audience were encouraged to ask questions throughout the evening and Marcus proved his encyclopaedic knowledge of the world of art.

The Tate Britain runs regular audio descriptions on the third Monday of each month and although the building has numerous imposing steps to the front of the building, Marcus was keen to point out that there are four step free access points to the building and accessibility has been improved greatly since its build date.

Needless to say the audience thoroughly enjoyed this educational talk and gave Marcus a thunderous round of applause.

Let’s hope they return in the future to tell us more about this wonderful gallery and its treasures.

Home of Compassion is dedicated to providing the highest level of residential, nursing and dementia care for up to 71 elderly residents. The luxurious care home is set in delightful surroundings in the heart of Thames Ditton, with beautiful views over the river. For more information about Home of Compassion and Caring Homes visit our website at www.caringhomes.org

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