Hay's Galleria original painting by artist Cathy Read

Hay’s Galleria

Standing in a darkened portal, we look towards the Thames through Hay’s Galleria. Under the archway that frames a brilliant scene. Golden colour lights up the whole painting. Drawing your eyes, through light festooned arches, to the blue sky beyond. Perhaps you are attracted to the clock face, suspended mid air on barely visible chains?

The space is lofty, with tall black columns covered in fairy lights, these support an arched atrium roof that looks like a lace canopy over the busy space below. People about their business, heading home or out for a meal.

Chairs and tables are set, ready for new occupants with a menu on a pole menu enticing passers by to stop and see. Then maybe try their culinary delights in the ambience of this glorious open air space. All the benefits of being outside but with the added benefit of staying dry, should Britain’s fickle weather decide to show its true colours.

Figures are grouped together, except for the girl with a pink handbag. She looks lost in her own world. A couple are walking towards us, about to pass by. Silent and thoughtful, they are together but not talking. A young family head away, the father’s arm is resting affectionately around his son’s shoulder. The mother, present and vigilant, on on his other side. Another pair of figures are engaged in conversation, both oblivious to the passerby wearing a blue jacket.

Just when you think you’ve seen everything, you spot more people. Someone in a white jacket, a black rucksack on their back. There’s another figure in a white shirt with yellow hair, she’d be invisible if she wasn’t wearing black trousers. And still there is more… Rich colours of deep purple and red bricks with orange splashes. People seated at tables and what is that structure in the middle, half ship like and half upturned bus roof? Its curved supports mirror the shape of the great glass and iron structure above.

Hay's Galleria original painting by artist Cathy Read

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