Daughter 1 and I took the children to the Portrait Gallery for the first time today. It's an amazing Neo-Gothic building and, rather to our surprise, the children found it interesting. There's a painted frieze around the main entrance hall, featuring lots of people from Scottish history, and the little ones gazed up at them and talked about them a bit.
They also looked at the various busts, such as this one of James Watt, the engineer. Granddaughter the Elder was particularly intrigued by Queen Victoria, who was wearing a crown as all good queens do. Grandson (surprise, surprise) was keen to know how many of the great and good immortalised here in marble had lived long enough to see traffic lights installed. Not many in this room, Daughter 1 and I decided.
The main purpose of our visit was to look at the BP Portrait Competition exhibition, which Mr Life and I had seen at the weekend. I had no idea whether it would hold the attention of a 5- and a 3-year-old but we thought it worth a try. And it did. They wandered round, looking at all the (amazing) portraits and each chose their favourite.
Outside the exhibition room, there was a little stand with mirrors, paper and pencils, and visitors were invited to try drawing their own self-portraits and to pin them to the wires encircling the space. Grandson was enthusiastic to try this and worked busily for some minutes.
Here he is with his finished portrait.
It hasn't quite captured his loveliness but he carefully gave himself eyelashes, eyebrows, ear whorls and a quilted sweatshirt - though no hands or legs.
It was lovely to see how much they enjoyed themselves. We must do this again.
Afterwards, we went to the café. Grandson looked at the pink tulip in a vase on our table and then saw a red one on another table. Then he saw a yellow one. "Do you get green tulips?" he enquired. Art may be one thing, but the possibility of making a traffic light arrangement in tulips is quite another.