This past summer I stayed in an apartment in west Kensington which gave wonderful walking access to parks and famous sites. One of those was a longish walk, but with lots to look at, as you will see on this stroll to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
This is an entrance to Kensington Gardens. Let's just take a peek ~
One of these little divas waggled her finger at me & imperiously said, "No pictures!"
Back on track towards the museum, I pass through a neighborhood of lovely houses, with one honoring a former resident ~
Time to go inside and look around. I didn't take notes, but the first few rooms covered various decades of domestic life in England. As you'll see, it was obviously the domestic life of the wealthy. That's not a criticism, as the museum is so full of great stuff that sometimes it's like being in an exceptionally nice attic, with tons of things to marvel and puzzle over. That impression is heightened by the fact it's so dark inside. I was grumbling about that when another visitor pointed out that the dark was to protect the items on display. You will get captions for the things whose captions I remembered to snap.
The afore-mentioned statue of Handel ~
This was in a particularly gloomy corner, but too dazzling not to try to capture with a photograph. Even unfinished, the workmanship is mind-boggling ~
I was transfixed by this object. The caption picture I took is blurrily unreadable, but I found the text online: By 1700 British locksmiths were famous for their technical and decorative skills. Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, probably ordered this lock when he visited England in 1669. It has two dials that indicate how often it has been opened; one is a dummy, to provide extra security.source
Last Edit: Jul 19, 2017 15:07:13 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smiley
So many marvelous things. The V&A is my all-time favorite museum. I think.
I've said this before, but I get more out of following your V&A visit, bixa, than I would on my own. Whereas in a museum I'm overwhelmed and flustered, here I can see one thing at a time and read its label and know that you've chosen the best of the museum's offerings.
I've often thought somebody should invent museum glasses so people like me can read the explanatory signs. I usually take a lot of photos in a museum hoping later I'll figure out through my photos what I was seeing.
I loved the uniforms on those girls, especially the skimmer hats. Summer in London and they're wearing jackets and probably need them.
You two are very kind, but I am really getting some undeserved credit for organization and critical selection.
Because of renovation construction, I didn't go in through the main entrance and whichever entrance it was, I just took a right turn and started wandering. Really, my only goal in a place like the V&A is to enjoy what I can, then leave when I am either tired or overwhelmed by all there is to see. I think trying to see everything is a good way to wind up appreciating very little. What is wonderful about so many museums in London is that admission is free, so there's always the option of returning to take in more later.
Breeze, I so understand what you mean about putting it in favorite museum category. Besides being interesting, there is something lovable about the place, not least because there are so many pleasant open, well-lighted areas to vary the experience. (not to mention a killer museum shop besides!) And you are so right about the signs. Mainly, they are just too small to read comfortably. I do give the V&A major points, though, for avoiding the vicious blinding ceiling spot lights that so many museums inflict on the viewing public. And yes! on those schoolgirl uniforms. Catching sight of them after passing through the fancy portals of the Queen's Gate was like entering a time warp.
I know what you mean, Mossie, about the impatience factor. It hit me hard in the British Museum, not least because of the aforementioned spot lighting, and I was grumpily in and out fairly quickly. I think you'll enjoy looking at the V&A's nicely designed website, as it's a way to pinpoint areas of personal interest and not pointlessly use up museum energy. One place I didn't visit was the café, so if you return to London while I'm still there, we can go to Victorian afternoon tea there -- I'm already practicing keeping my pinky finger raised.
And now, as claustrophobia from the dark well-filled rooms begins to set in, let's move into airy loveliness ~
My attention was flagging at this point, so I flitted here and there without committing to any particular zone. This next group of pictures will reinforce the notion that the V&A is a marvelous attic storeroom ~
I have never been to the V&A, so this is a truly excellent introduction to it. One of the "problems" of living in Europe is that there are so many wonderful museums that most of us reach almost total saturation with them by early adulthood. It becomes more and more difficult to decide to go and see things that we know we should see. It's one of the reasons that I enjoy playing tourist guide for visiting friends because it gets me back in gear to see all of these treasures through new eyes.
Tonight is European museum night with more than a thousand museums open at least until midnight and in some cases all night. It's another one of their tricks to try to get us off our fat arses.
Thanks, Kerouac. Making a museum thread is always iffy because you wonder whether people see it as taking medicine -- good for you, but not necessarily desirable. The V&A is a wonderful and entertaining place, so I am very happy if anyone is inspired to visit it. Really, any good museum is the worth any number of re-visits. Any plans for hitting a museum tonight?
The necessary darkness and closeness of the parts of the collection shown earlier are more than offset by the gloriously soaring and naturally bright galleries showcasing other treasures, as here ~
Just a little bit more of St. Margaret ~
I love the way this man's stance unconsciously mirrors that of the statue in front of him ~
At this point in my visit I wandered over to areas showcasing Asian cultures. That included the illuminating figures and images shown in the thread Buddhas & Bodhisattvas of Britain. The Victoria & Albert part of that thread starts at reply #4.
Anyone who knows me will look at this vase and think, "Thank goodness she didn't have a brick in her purse!"
Come on, if you were planning a memorial for yourself, would you want to stop with something this paltry? Why not fill up the whole available square with scenes from your life? I couldn't, but I bet many of you could.
Seeing the Japanese works made me think that their whole culture is imbued with artistry, and then I see hello kitty and I begin to doubt.
bixa, do you think that the woman looking in the mirror might be an Utamaro?
I hope you get to go back to the V&A this coming trip.
Post by cheerypeabrain on May 25, 2017 19:08:33 GMT
Ah memories...we used to live in Bedfordshire about an hour from London by bus...there was a 'United Counties' green bus one every hour on a Saturday that we used to catch, my Parents,younger sister and I...we would wander around London eating our sandwiches in little hidden squares surrounded by office workers Mum LOVED the V&A so we went there a lot. They never bought so much as a coke or an ice cream and all the museums and galleries were free so it was a cheap family day out. That was in the early seventies tho...
Post by patricklondon on May 26, 2017 14:35:08 GMT
I was brought up a shortish bus-ride away, and the default option for a rainy day in the school holidays was to get the bus up to South Ken for the museums. But a massive part of the importance of any museum is what you don't really see - the specialist curatorial expertise behind the scenes (and who knows how much else is held in storage just for study).
Albert was a Thoroughly Good Thing. Without him and the Great Exhibition, none of that complex of museums and colleges would be there, or not in that form. Victoria did go slightly mad and over the top in her grief with the memorial, it's true, but he deserved something grand. And the Albert Hall will soon be resounding to the greatest music all summer long once the BBC Proms start....
Post by cheerypeabrain on May 28, 2017 18:09:16 GMT
I agree Patrick, the knowledge these curators have is priceless. I wanted to be an Egyptologist when I was young...visits to the Ancient Egyptian galleries in the British Museum fuelled my passion! Unfortunately I wasn't clever enough but I still love the subject.
See there, Cheery ~ your parents raised an artist! How lovely that you got to see that museum often in your childhood. As for not being clever enough to be an Egyptologist -- you?!!!
Awww Patrick ~ sorry if you think I was dismissive of poor old Albert! One of the things I've long admired him for was keeping Britain out of the American Civil War, something that surely changed the course of history. I wasn't being anti-Albert, just giving vent to my republican sympathies that burst forth when I saw that rilly, rilly big monument. As for the curators and their skills -- yes! They invisibly do what they do so very well. In that whole "household" section of the V&A where I started out, even with all the objects in it, the displays had a logic and order that kept the viewer from being overwhelmed.
Last Edit: Jul 19, 2017 15:01:07 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smiley