At the Victoria & Albert Museum

Before I go into a whole “Armitage fan experience in London” post, I’m first posting about something else I was able to do there. I had arrived in London last Sunday morning and spent a lovely day just hanging out and chatting with my brother and some with my niece.

Then on Monday I had the day to myself and I decided to finally visit the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington. I had never been there and had always meant to go there one day. It was a good day to pick that, as it was a cold, dreary and very wet day. Picture taken from the bus I was on; the window was wet, it almost looks like an impressionist painting.

20200224_124333I got to the museum and somehow it seemed much larger than I had thought. I mean, I knew it housed a very diverse collection but this was much bigger than I had expected.

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I wandered around on the ground floor a bit, particularly liking the statues gallery…

… and then went in search of the café for something to eat. The old café was beautiful, but alas there was no space for me to sit there…

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So, I sat in the more modern section and really enjoyed my scone and cup of tea.

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Even going to a bathroom at the café was a museum experience with old tiles and fawcets bearing Georg Vth initials, which indicates they were somewhere from the beginning of the 20th century.

Speaking of royalty, on my way to the medieval section I passed the car Harry and Meghan had used at the end of their wedding day

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It was basically an ad for the vintage cars exhibition that was also on at the V&A but that I didn’t end up visiting.

In the medieval section I was struck by this early 16th century tapestry from Brussels depicting Queen Esther (she after whom I have been named):

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I also love looking at old books, like this early printed book from 1521, not long after the printing press had been invented.

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Some more nice vistas as you walk through the museum:

I have seen lots of medieval art and statues and the like in many museums over the years, so for me the high point of the museum was something I have not seen that much of: an exhibition on early photography. Even just looking at all those cameras before you enter the room was fascinating.

I was in awe seeing an early heliograph image of Christ carrying the cross from 1827. You can barely see the image but it’s there (click to enlarge)…

… and an 1840’s daguerreotype image of a collage of famous faces.

I liked this 1850s image. Imagine keeping that little dog still enough for long enough to create this image!

An early camera was on display…

And there were more fascinating 19th century images, with one image also of Alice Liddell, who was the ‘real’ Alice in Wonderland.

Absolutely fascinating, including some early 3D imagery you could see through this viewer but that I couldn’t take pictures of.

The other section I was fascinated with was the theatre collection (with a little movie glam thrown in).  The horse for the War Horse production was there…

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And other theatre costumes…

There was the Henry V costume as worn by Richard Burton…

And a costume designed by Dior for Vivien Leigh in a movie…

Vivien Leigh seems to have bequeathed some of her memorabilia to the V&A. The Oscar she had won for A Streetcar Named Desire in the 1950s was on display…

… as was a telegram addressed to Laurence Olivier (Vivien Leigh’s husband at the time) from Lillian and Dorothy Gish, movie stars of mainly the silent movie era, congratulating Leigh on her brilliant acting performance in Streetcar.

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There were more awards on display from other actors for other performances:

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And some music related memorabilia of David Bowie…

and Madness…

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This is just a tiny impression of all there is to see at the V&A and I saw way more than I took pictures of. It’s a great museum, very diverse and I by far haven’t seen everything. I may have to return there again sometime.

By the time I finally emerged from the musem at the end of the afternoon, it had stopped raining. I again took a bus, this time to Piccadilly Circus, and the view was somewhat less impressionist:

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I was off to go and meet Hariclea for evening theatre shenanigans at the Harold Pinter Theatre. More on that in my next post. 🙂

25 thoughts on “At the Victoria & Albert Museum

  1. Wow, you really did a lot in the V&A! Fantastic – thanks for the many pictures. Some things I had also seen (particularly the photography exhibition – for anyone who is into photography, they have some of the earliest ever photographs (like the Nicephore Niepce you have shown us) and they really cover the history of photography. Fab!!) and others I haven’t. The last time I was there, I went through the porcelain section, and loved all the teapots on display there. The café is definitely always a highlight for me, too, especially as they do cream teas. Another reason why I love going to the V&A is actually their gift shop. They have fabulous stuff, related to the exhibitions, and often also a great sale section. It’s always worth going to, great reminder, Esther.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did meander through the shop as well. 🙂
      Yeah, too much to see there in one go, I will definitely go back again some day.
      I love that these museums are all free of charge in London. Here in the Netherlands museums can be expensive. You can purchase a discount card yearly but it’s only worth it if you go to museums a lot (and I don’t usually get around to it that much). It’s so typical Dutch that you need to buy a discount card… 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is something I love about museums in the British Isles. It’s the same in Ireland – the main museums in Dublin are free of charge: National Gallery, National Museum. I make a lot of use of them because of that – often take a short cut through the gallery, passing by my favourite painting on my way home. And I *always* recommend that my visitors go and see the National Museum’s Celtic gold exhibition – free in, so if you don’t like it, you can leave and not feel bad about it. But chances are, you actually spend some time in there. And I am happy to always leave a voluntary donation on my way out.
        I love those yearly membership cards they have in London. The friend I used to stay with, has memberships for the Tate, the V&A and the British Museum, and she always lent the card to me. Best bit: All those museums in London have a member’s lounge where you are guaranteed to find a table to sit, and where you can use free wifi. Very important *haha*.

        Like

  2. Ahhh Esther Rachel took me to V and A last September and we wondered around a bit on the upper levels then ate outside with our sandwiches and crisps on the lawn !
    Definitely worth a trip back from your pics!!
    Thank you for sharing these. 😘❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Sensational Sunday! New #UncleVanya poster with 4 & 5 star ratings, etc. March 01, 2020 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1285) | Something About Love (A)

  4. salakonn

    Indeed, that Monday was cold and rainy in London! I walked with a friend of mine from Paddington Station to the West end, and then saw Uncle Vanya later in the evening. Took a trip to England just to go to see the play.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Servetus

    While the British Museum will be my favorite London museum (at least until they have to give back the Elgin Marbles), I like the V&A, too. Always nice to see what’s on offer (although when I’ve been I’ve gone for the textiles / clothes). Glad you had such a nice time!

    Liked by 1 person

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