Speaker’s House – an artistic privilege!

There’s a saying “Life is what happens when you’re planning what to do!” Last week was a bit like that.

I was in London on Monday to go to the Houses of Parliament! You might remember?

Backstory- last November at Bafa’s annual competition! The one where I was announced as runner up, then it was withdrawn?

John Bercow, our local MP and Speaker at the House of Commons,was officiating and offered the winners an opportunity to sketch at the Speaker’s House!

Cut to 3 weeks ago, this hadn’t happened due to illness! After various phone calls, discussions and internal ranglings, I was asked on Thursday if I’d like to go! I’m the Publicity Officer after all! Well what would you say? Refuse to go out of principle and spite; or grab the opportunity with both hands?

I chose the latter!

Last Monday (23rd) the group met outside Westminster Tube station and had the security checks at Portcullis House. After taking 3 photographs, I was told photography wasn’t allowed. Ooops! But they let me keep my camera –plus images…

As a Brit, where guns are not commonplace, so armed guards were unnerving. Somehow, they did NOT make me feel safe!

We were escorted to the Speaker’s House and Terrace which afforded spectacular views across the Thames, and of Parliament itself. Out of sight of Big Ben. But we KNEW when it chimed! There was so much to draw! I eventually concentrated on details that couldn’t be see from Westminster Bridge, like this lamp!

Lamp at Houses of Parliament

We continued sketching until the heavens opened, forcing us inside. Inside we were given access to all 4 State Rooms! We explored like children in a toy shop… that also sold sweets! There was so much of interest!! What to choose? Sadly we weren’t permitted to take photographs,

or jump on this bed!

image (image from the arts and crafts home)

Pity! But we were encouraged to make ourselves at home!

image (image from Daily Mail)

Tell me, would you feel at home in these surroundings? I was conscious of a very unique experience. Although many may visit Speaker’s House, I doubt many are left to their own devices to sketch!

Finally, to prove this isn’t a figment of my imagination… it’s been happening a lot lately! (puzzled face) We were eventually allowed this picture!

Corner Drawing room 

Have I ever said how much I love being a Publicity Officer?

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