Leeds on a Shoestring...

Went to Leeds on Saturday - tried to make it to a Zeitgeist Movement meeting to see there was any life there but missed it (too busy counting birds for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch).

So, we went to two very fab and groovy (and free) places.

The Leeds Art Gallery

A fair bit of contemporary art here, but some good old huge classics including Lord Leightons Return of Persephone - rather apt for the time of year - and Grimshaw's "Iris" from the same story. Iris is sent by Zeus to try and persuade Demeter to bring spring back (to no avail).

Arthur Hacker's Temptation of Sir percival had me entranced for a few minutes - the woman is the devil in disguise, and is trying to dissuade Sir Percival from his quest for the holy grail. Percival is one of only three knights that attain the Grail. In the background, you can just make out the Red knight who besmirched Guinevere's honour by throwing a goblet of wine over her - Percival asked to be knighted that he might avenge her.

But my favourite of the day was George W. Joy's depiction of General Gordon's last Stand (love that casually defiant stance).

Here, the British were fighting the Sudanese with an Egyptian army.

It is hanging on the same wall as a huge picture of Brittania subduing a Bengal Tiger representing the fierce reprisals of the Indian uprising of 1857. On a weekend where the people of Egypt are taking to the streets in protest of the way their rulers are governing, it does make one wonder if colonialism, empire building and tyranny will always be with us.

We also visited The Royal Armouries, Leeds where we learned more about the Indian uprising, saw a genuine Corinthian helmet (500 B.C. wow!) and learned how to cast a spear-head in bronze, so if you ever need one - you know who to ask.

Can recommend Bagel Nash in a small mall called "The Light" on The Headrow (That's the same road as the Gallery) for a tasty humous bagel snack.

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