Painting of the Albert Hall, London by contemporary artist Cathy Read

Albert Hall Meditation

Red. There is no ignoring the red or the landmark, Albert Hall.

We’re overlooking the scene standing beside the magnificent Gothic Albert Memorial and one of the Guardian sculptures, representing the four corners of the globe, on the cornice. Prince Albert was a gifted man and the memorial bears testimony to his talent, interests and vision.

Albert Hall For All


Albert, the Prince Consort to Queen Victoria was a great art lover and the Royal Albert Hall fulfilled his dream to establish permanent public art and science venues. It is a small theatre by contemporary standards, but one viewed with particular affection. This glorious round theatre is a design masterpiece and a recipe for losing one’s bearings once inside. There are 8, or maybe 12 exits, and it does speed up entry and exit. Overlooking Hyde Park, a grander location is hard to imagine.

The Albert Hall dominates most of the painting. A pavement strip and road frame the bottom. Trees and sky form the top right corner and the memorial bastions the left. Beyond that, layers of glorious architecture have free rein.

Round buildings, like the Albert Hall, bring a cake to mind. Besides the round shape, decorative “icing” friezes encircle it’s tiers and each level steps up like a wedding cake. However, most brides would problem not choose red and ochre.

At first glance the scene appears isolated behind railings from a busy street. Two cars drive along, more are parked and people get in and out checking signs. At the bottom right, tourists spill out of coaches. Two girls sit on the steps taking in the scene and city life. One in a bright red jumper – there’s that colour again!

The colour of passion, danger, traffic control, the colour of blood, rusty iron or an evening sunset. Red arrests, our attention and draws it towards itself.

And there is so much red.

Painting of the Albert Hall, London by contemporary artist Cathy Read

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