Last London Pics –The V & A
Here’s the last pics of our London trip (and warning, there are a LOT of pics) from the Victoria & Albert where we spent a good 5 hours. Like the British Museum there are many antiquities here, but the emphasis on the V & A is more the decorative than the historical or archeological. (NOTE: If you are interested, I have made as many of these pictures as I can links to the V & A or other reference on the work.)
An interesting example is one of the first works you see at the museum:
This work, Peach Blossom Spring, appears as a large example of Eastern calligraphy but on closer examination, the characters are Roman; the work presents an English translation of the famous Chinese fable, the Peach Blossom Spring. (In the inset I think you can see ‘All Of A’…) This same theme is the subject of a wonderful outside garden:
There were a great many old Asian works, such as these from Japan (a favorite place and era of Kim and myself):
And India, Nepal & Pakistan:
Very dramatic is the Sculpture Hall, with examples from many times and places, but mostly from the great days of the British Empire:
From our SCA days and still today, Kim and I are much interested in Medieval Europe. The V&A is a treasure trove – no, treasure hoard – of such articles:
Lastly, the V & A has an unmatched collection of fabric arts of all kinds, a particular passion of Kim’s. These articles are challenging to capture in photos, especially encased in glass as they all are. I’ll start with some medieval examples, all priestly wear:
Three later period examples; the piece on the right was done by Mary, Queen of Scots:
Now, Kim’s great favorite of all needlework is blackwork, of which there were some tantalizing exhibits:
I know that’s a great many pictures … I hope if nothing else this conveys the immense breadth of what’s to be seen at the V & A. I took over 250 shots there, and daughter Alex took many more as well. Things we could show you include: Richard Burton’s costume from his Stratford-on-Avon Henry V (1951); The Valkyrie costume from The Producers (2004); the amazing “castings gallery”, where architectural works, some stories high, have been re-created in plaster; the ironworks collection; the 20th century design hall, including the Garden Egg chair; the Montefiore Centerpiece, 37 kg of sterling silver with as baroque a rendition of Moses, Ezra and David as you could imagine; plus paintings, jewelry, fabrics and every-day items beyond counting.
Pre-Raphaelite that he was, Rossetti was also a poet. For this painting he composed a verse of 14 lines, which ends:
Lo! Toward deep skies, not deeper than her look,
She dreams; till now on her forgotten book
Drops the forgotten blossom from her hand.
The thing museums make me wonder more than anything else is: Are we – people, humanity, all of us – different now than we were before? Does the sentiment of Rossetti, or the devotion of the embroiderers or chasuble makers, or the vision of the sculptors who chose gods as their subjects, does any of that still exist? Or have we become over-fond of the “realistic”, the cynical, the clever, the – frankly – small? If you tell me Rossetti’s painting is puerile, contrived, and shallow, I know what you mean. But I still like it, and I wonder what Rossetti really thought when he painted it.
Thus, finally, ends the chronicle of our London trip. I hope to get back to more India postings soon, such as the planning for our end of month trip to Kerala. Namastē.