She is more beautiful than the Mona Lisa. I have never seen her before and, quite probably, I will never see her again in my lifetime. Unless I go to Cracow.
No reproduction can do justice to the exquisite delicacy of the ermine's ear, the bones of its face, the quiver of a whisker and the musculature of its leg.
I couldn't walk away ... and when I did, I kept coming back. A woman turned to me and said, 'I cannot bear to leave.'
Now, what you really want to know ...
The queue (two hours, said the woman at the desk) stretched out the door of the National Gallery and up the side of the Sainsbury wing and they start queuing for day tickets at about 7am.
But once you get inside, it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected and, I must say, the National Gallery have done a pretty good job at managing the flow. The crowd ebbed and towards the end of the afternoon, I was able to commune with the beautiful Cecilia and her ermine for as long as I pleased. Of course, it wasn't quite like this.