It was a beautiful day in the City of London, and prior to walking to Mansion House, we had a very tasty lunch at "Dion", a restaurant we can recommend, just around the corner from St Paul’s Cathedral. The perfect place to catch up with old friends and enjoy making new ones.
The first thing to say is how spectacular Mansion House is. Those of us who had not been before were amazed by the glorious, glittering building. It felt like a very special opportunity to be inside this iconic structure. We were fortunate to observe the huge golden Mace and Ceremonial Sword of the Lord Mayor being carried to the Egyptian Hall, the main banqueting hall, for that evening's event.
The Harold Samuel Art Collection, collected over 35 years, is of historic and artistic importance. The paintings were privately collected by Lord Samuel of Wych Cross who died in 1987 leaving his priceless collection of Seventeenth Century Dutch and Flemish paintings to the Corporation of London, expressly to be hung at Mansion House.
The pictures are grouped by theme, displaying artists together who are related by style. Winter landscapes of typical Dutch themes line the staircase. At the top of the stairs, is a copy of a major Frans Hals painting "The Merry Lute Player", (the original is currently on loan to the National Gallery for their huge Frans Hals exhibition this Autumn). There were so many marvellous paintings in the salon, including large interior scenes by Steen and De Hooch. Our guide Roz, was very knowledgeable.
We came away from our tour with a sense of awe at the number of beautiful paintings we had seen inside this magnificent building.