Sunday, 20 September 2009

Not amused

Caroline bought a bike for Agnes' birthday on eBay, so collecting it was my excuse for an outing to near Nuneaton on Friday. My reward for riding a 19" frame lady's bike from its former owner's to Nuneaton Station was a stop-off in Birmingham on the way there: I wanted to pop into the Art Gallery to see Burne-Jones' Perseus Series, on loan from the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, the first time it had been on view in the UK. (The show was closing today.)

The pictures tell the story - as gruesome as any Tarantino film - of Perseus visiting the Graiae, Medusa's sisters, who shared one eye between the three of them, and making off with it; cutting off Medusa's head, and using it to win the affection of Andromeda (before turning various people to stone). It amazes me how the Victorian establishment obviously lapped all this up: Burne-Jones' commission came from Arthur Balfour, the future Prime Minister.

I fell asleep in the train going back, waking up with a jolt as it pulled in to Cheltenham. I had put my book on a low shelf beside my seat. Only as I was pushing the bike down the platform, the train moving off to Cardiff, did I remember.

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