Tracy. What's eating you, Jack?
Jack. Ah! Never mind. Just a slight headache.
Rona. He is never well when museums are on the schedule.
J. The attic of the nation are all those museums, aren't they?
T. Take it easy Jack, relax.
J. If I could I would. It's annoying when you can't have fun from something, isn't it?
R. Fun? Museums are .educational establishments for advancing and diffusing knowledge. You are not expected to have fun with it like dog shows or flower exhibitions.
J. What a bore!
Henry. A picture gallery is no less enjoyable than a dog show. Stick to me, Jack, and you'll find it terrific, I promise you.
J. Do you? We shall see. (In the museum each visitor is offered a cassette player and earphones to listen to a recorded guide's commentary.)
Voice on the audio tape.
We are in the hall of colonial portraits of the National Portrait Gallery. The Permanent Collection of the Museum represents portraits of heroes and villains, thinkers and doers, conservatives and radicals. Most of them are taken from life-sittings. You will see George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, the artist Mary Cassatt...
J. Heavens, what sparkling eyes that lady on the colonial portrait has! And what a graceful pose!
Maggy. Isn't it lovely! Her face is gentle, she looks as if she was alive.
J. And the texture of her dress! It looks so soft and silky as if you could feel it with your hand.
H. You like realist portraits, don't you?
J. What I really like about the 19th century ladies are their fashions and hairdos. They were gorgeous, weren't they?
You are standing before the portrait of Mrs Alexander Hamilton, painted in 1787 by Ralph Earl. Ralf Earl began his career as an artist on the eve of the American Revolution to become a painter of exceptional breadth and power. Earl captured on canvas the many faces of the young republic...