|The Music Lesson, Royal Collection|
It was a lovely end to the day to stroll into the National Gallery at 8pm and happen upon a concert of early music at this small but very lovely exhibition.
I was too late for a seat but listened as I wandered around looking at the paintings.
I do find that at a small exhibition, I look more intently ... at the ultramarine seat of the chair, that exquisite jug, the detail of the man's cane and the delicate paintstrokes that make his bandolier. When you peer closely - and I'd never have worked this out for myself - you can see that there is also ultramarine in the leaded lights of the windows.
And, not in this painting, but I love the blue and white Delft tiles skirting the edges of some of the rooms.
There is a fascinating display at the end of the exhibition about Vermeer's paint and techniques and I only wished that I could have had it as a leaflet in my hand - because I was backwards and forwards checking details of the paintings.
There are only four Vermeers, five if you count one that looks very dodgy. And as almost all the paintings have been drawn from the National Gallery's own collection - with the exception of the Queen's Vermeer and the one from Kenwood - you can normally see them any time you like without having to pay to get in.