Some of my heroes
This is the British National Gallery. Here I got to see some of the paintings of one of my artistic heroes, Jan Van Eyck. Van Eyck is credited with painting the first ever landscape, and was so revolutionary in his use of oil paint that many believed erroneously that he invented it. His paintings are full of intricate detail and shimmering light. His motto? “As best I can.”
Another one of my heroes is Sir Christopher Wren. After the great fire of London he designed the new London. St. Paul’s Cathedral is the most famous of his structures, but he designed 53 churches and many other buildings including a monument to the great fire. He is also responsible for the design of the modern wedding cake. St. Bride’s cathedral steeple, which he designed, was used as a model for a cake which became widely popular in Britain, until it became the traditional wedding cake.
Sir Christopher Wren may have rebuilt London, but Sir Walter Scott rebuilt the Scots. When King George IV came on a visit to Scotland, Scott was given the task of organizing the welcome. He single handedly brought the tartan back into fashion, welcoming the king with a panoply of highland garb. In the process, many phony tartans were fabricated, which are still sold to tourists like me in Edinburgh’s tartan shops. In addition to giving the Scottish image a shine, he rediscovered the long lost Scottish Crown Jewels, successfully defended Scotland’s right to print its own banknotes and wrote a zillion novels, many of them great.
There’s a genuine Scottish thistle for you to finish this off.