While enjoying High Tea at the Art Gallery of NSW one finds oneself saying things like – “one”. Like the Queen, I believe my birthday should be a public holiday. Unlike the Queen’s Birthday, technically mine isn’t a holiday. But I take the day off anyway – and encourage my friends and family to join me. This year we discovered a lovely way to celebrate and everyone declared we should do it every year. (I have no problems with that).
You don’t have to wait for your birthday for this tour. It is available throughout the year with the latest exhibition at the Gallery. The tour combines entrance to a special exhibition along with a sumptuous afternoon tea.It’s great for a special occasion or just a way to experience a delightful corner of Sydney.
The Art Gallery is right in the middle of Sydney and easy to get to. We all took public transport. There’s a short walk from St James Station or you can catch a bus right to the front door. There is also parking in the Domain parking lot and very limited, metered street parking right out the front.
One isn’t allowed to take photographs inside the gallery so you’ll just have to imagine the scene. The exhibition we saw was the Archibald Prize 2010 which I love both for the art itself and for the interaction of the people with the art. I wish I could have taken pictures of the famous people in the portraits peering at the visitors staring back at them. There are lots of characters both inside and outside of the frames.
The scale of paintings is always the thing that strikes me. The Archibald is so well publicized in Australia you think you’ve already seen the portraits before you go but there’s nothing like seeing the actual scale. This year the winning portrait was actually on a surprisingly small canvas.
You don’t have to be an art expert to enjoy this exhibit. The portraits are of well known people so they are enjoyable on many levels. Even well behaved children enjoy the exhibit (the naughty ones might too but I wouldn’t want to encourage their attendance).
If you are an art enthusiast there are plenty of other collections at the Art Gallery to keep you busy for hours. Or if you just want a taste, you can stick to the featured exhibition and move on to the sweets.
This is a Treat
I am an absolute sucker for lovely cakes and goodies. I was also surprised how much I enjoyed the lovely sandwiches and fancy soup as well. This is not your grandmother’s high tea (although I am sure she would love to come along). It’s sleek and classy rather than flowered and chintzy. You get the traditional soft, little sandwiches as well as some trendy tastes too. There was something for everyone and even a glass of bubbly.
Not that we are ever at a loss for words but the portraits inspired plenty of lively debate. We felt quite cultured and satisfied. No doubt the Queen would have enjoyed it as well.
- Melinda Harrington
Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s Sydney tours & things to do, especially Art and High Tea at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and other Sydney Sightseeing Tickets and Passes.