We met Frank Perls, Felix Landau [William Brice’s then Los Angeles dealer] and Annie Tardos for dinner—a drink at their hotel and dinner at Alvaro in the Kings Road. Walked a bit after dinner with them and then went back to the flat.
July 2, Thursday
Breakfast with Charles Alan and then to the Queens gallery to see the exhibition of Gainsborough. Some works of considerable charm, but of more interest as history to me than of painting.
John and I lunched at the Dumpling Inn and enjoyed all of our favorite dishes. Later we shopped at Floris, Turnbull and ordered three shirts each, bought ties and hats, Howes for socks and then to the flat to wash up for dinner at Marcia’s.
Her new flat is extremely attractive and she was very outgoing in receiving us. It was very good to spend the evening with Mildred and Sam and Frank Perls and his new companion, who seems indeed a good person. Frank was, as we all were, in fine spirits. It was fine to see him jolly and in good health at last. Lynn Epstein (Frank’s young lady) is a rather charming and shy person. I was surprised to hear she is a successful art dealer in N.Y. City. She specializes in prints. I did not expect she would be involved in an occupation that requires (usually) assertion and high amount of aggressiveness.
July 3, Friday
After breakfast in our flat, I went with John to shop for shoes for him. Later we went to Harrods (a sweater for me) and Douglas Heywood [tailor] (a sweater for him). We had lunch (very pleasant) with Eathan and Linda Russell. I had asked Barry Stonehill to join us but he was unable to do so.
In the evening, we dined with Kathy and Louis and went to the Royal Court to see “Home.” The play was interesting, Gielgud and Richardson were superb but the theatre was stifling and we were all drowsy. After the play, we had coffee in the Kings Road and returned to the flat early to prepare for our morning flight to Madrid.
July 4, Saturday
Out hurriedly and at Heathrow by 9:30 a.m., the plane, a BEA Trident, was to leave at 10:15, but was delayed. Finally got off an hour late, had an excellent flight (quite comfortable—two aisle seats adjacent) and arrived at the Ritz Hotel at about 1:45 p.m.
We lunched in our room, had a siesta (all is closed in Madrid from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.), dressed and went to Las Lanzas (an elegant international Madrid restaurant) and we spared ourselves nothing. I was not drinking—I should say am not drinking—but John finished all with a fine brandy and Habana cigar at the Ritz. The city was dramatic at night. The heavy facades of the turn of the century architecture were lighted (the lights play on the buildings rather than from lampposts on the street) and the warm evening air carried a strange aroma, which seemed to come from the stone of the buildings and the pavements. The sense of the city that first night was serious, restrained and formal. We went to sleep at around 1:30 a.m. We were looking forward to tomorrow and our first visit to the Prado.
July 5, Sunday
Breakfast in our room. The room is extremely comfortable. Toile paper and crystal sconces and chandeliers. A huge marble bathroom with two sinks and ample shower, tub, etc. The hotel is very grand. All is hushed and quite correct. Ones every move is anticipated. All appears to be done expertly and effortlessly.
We visited the Prado until 2:00 p.m. Our first impression was unsettling. We started with Flemish masters and the rooms were poorly lighted and filled with people. There were extraordinary paintings, but somehow we were not yet “connected.”
The Prado Museum, Madrid
Photographer: Brian Snel Ritz garden as it is today, Madrid
We returned to have lunch in the Ritz garden. Small tables with bright umbrellas surround a square pool with a fountain. The bright orange canopies against the white walls of the hotel are in bright contrast to the sedately curving balustrade and large stairway, which descends to this intimate patio garden. The conversations are muted; the people are handsomely attired. This is an “elegant” afternoon. The Paella is excellent. The demi of light wine chilled that John has looks inviting, but I stick to my Perrier.
After our siesta, we go to dine at Jockey (perhaps the most highly recommended restaurant in Madrid—and deserving of its reputation). It is a small wood paneled room. Small tables in the center and near the bar along the side of the room. At least three or four waiters to care for each table. A perfect meal: John had Escalope de Veau later Crepes Suzettes—I had tournedos and lemon sherbet. A brandy and Partagas Cigar for John and then a stroll back to the Ritz.
July 6, Monday
Up at 8:30 a.m. At 10:00 a.m., we leave for Toledo by car. Our driver, Julio, stops first as we ask at the San Antonio de la Florida to see the Goya frescoes. I am pleased that John is so impressed for I have loved this work in reproduction for a long time.
Next, we stop at Illescas, a little village on the way to Toledo where we see five beautiful Grecos
St. Ildefonso, El Greco 1 The Annunciation, El Greco 2 The Coronation, El Greco 3
Our Lady of Charity, El Greco 4 The Nativity, El Greco, Illescas 5