7 Nov 2015

Sackler Room at the National Gallery - Skyfall paintings

In Skyfall, Bond meets with Q at the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square to get his equipment and ticket to Shanghai. Bond is waiting in Room 34 in the British gallery, where paintings of British painters between 1750 and 1850 are displayed.

Bond is looking at the famous oil painting by William Turner called "The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up, 1838".

It pictures the HMS Temeraire, which had played a distinguished role in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, being towed away on the Thames to be broken up for scrap, after less than 40 years in service. In the film, the painting came to symbolise Bond's age and the claim that he may have had his day.

The painting has been voted Britain's favourite painting in a poll organised by BBC Radio in 2005.

One of the paintings on the opposite wall, seen behind Bond, is Thomas Gainsborough's painting of "Mr and Mrs William Hallett (The morning walk)" from 1785. This painting can still be found hanging on the same wall as in the film.

It becomes obvious that some of the paintings have been rearranged since 2012, even though Thomas Gainsborough's painting of Mr and Mrs William Hallett appears to hang in the same place. In the film, to the left of Gainsborough (behind Q) is Joseph Wright of Derby's famous painting "An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump" from 1768. This painting had been moved at the time of my last visit in October 2015, and been replaced with another William Turner painting, namely "The parting of Hero and Leander" seen in the picture below.

"Report to the new Quartermaster for your documentation. He hasn't set up shop yet but Tanner will put you two together."
      - M to Bond - 

The meeting takes place in the Sackler Room, room No. 34, at the National Gallery located at Trafalgar Square. Room 34 contains artwork from British painters, painted between 1750 and 1850.

The Sackler Room is named after Dr. Mortimer Sackler, who was an American physician and entrepreneur. He gave millions of pounds to numerous educational, scientific and cultural institutions and enabled the restoration of the principal British gallery at the National Gallery.

Just as Timothy Dalton's line "farewell to arms" in License to Kill was a reference to Earnest Hemingway's novel, which house Bond and M was meeting in, Bond's line in Skyfall: "Brave new world" is a reference to another author. 'Brave new world' was a novel written by the British author Aldous Huxley.

"-A gun, and a radio... Not exactly Christmas is it?
-What did you expect, an exploding pen? We don't really go in for that anymore."
                          - Bond and Q -

Perhaps the line "brave new world" also is reference to the line "farewell to arms" in License to Kill, since Bond is not getting very much equipment from Q. Just a gun and a radio...
Bond is obviously not too happy with the equipment or the new Quartermaster.

Room 34 at the National Gallery

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