Jun 05, 2012

by English Muse

All this excitement about Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee has me thinking about the only other British monarch to celebrate a jubilee, Queen Victoria. Which, naturally enough got me thinking about the Victoria and Albert Museum. They self-style as “the world’s greatest museum of art and design.” I have not seen all the museums dedicated to art and design, but I am willing to take their word for it.

Main Rotunda with Chihuly Chandelier

The building itself is a bit of a hodgepodge, which is fitting for the wide variety of exhibits on display.

The Central Garden

What is most astounding about the museum is not only how deep and wide the collections are, but how few people outside of the UK seem to know about or visit it. Whenever I mention it I get blank stares from my fellow Americans. The problem, of course, it that there is so much good stuff to see and do in London that the V&A often doesn’t make the cut. However, I hereby urge you, if you ever get the chance, spend at least half a day there, it is worth your time.

Godwin Sideboard 1867

Herford Screen 1862

Those two pieces above, the Godwin Sideboard and Herford Screen were designed about five years apart. That is the kind of comparison you can make at a museum this great.

The most marvelous bit about the V&A is that rather than being stuffy and historical, the museum goes out of its way to be relevant today. The collections include art and design from 5,000 years ago and from yesterday. So, in a morning, you can see five of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks, a serious art deco jewelery collection, a jumpsuit worn by Mick Jagger and a cast of Trajan’s Column. The first time I visited my mind was blown away.

Right now the current exhibits include Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1850, British Design 1945 – 2012 Innovation in the Modern Age, and Heatherwick Studio - Designing the Extraordinary.

A Current Exhibit  Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1850

If you are interested in hearing more, this short film highlights 20 awesome things to see at the V&A.

have a very proper Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes

last image from here all other images from the V&A Wikipedia page

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 at 8:00 am. It is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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4 Responses to “The Victoria and Albert Museum”

  1. OK, I know I keep putting it off… but you’re right. I MUST GO! This summer it’s a date with the V&A!

  2. Katie says:

    I’ve never heard of the Victoria and Albert Museum, apparently like many others, but really can’t see why it hasn’t been mentioned! That last image, of the ball gown, looks like an absolutely stunning exhibit. Whenever I manage to get to London, it’ll definitely be on the list of things I’ll see.

    • Sarah says:

      Please do! You will totally feel like an insider – in such an awesome city sometimes stuff that would be a major attraction anywhere else gets overlooked.

  3. […] 1. Shutterstock 2. V&A via The English Muse 3. Eltham Palace via English Heritage 4. Liberty by Simon Greig on Flickr, used under Creative […]

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