Tag Archives: london

Victoria & Albert Museum – Part 2

The V&A is another one of those overwhelming museums with multiple floors and dozens of galleries. There were some wonderful Tudor and Stuart galleries recreating the lives from that era, but my favourite was the fashion gallery. There were some lovely clothes from the Regency and Victorian eras.

Mr Darcy and Miss Bennet.

Victoria & Albert Museum

A lady’s outfit.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Out for a night on the town clothes.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Mmm, makes me want to watch another Jane Austen period drama.

Victoria & Albert Museum – Part 1

We’re in the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A for short), which was originally set up (you guessed it) by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to house the decorative arts collection of the realm. Like the British Museum (and the Natural History and the Tate Galleries, to name a few) they are absolutely free to visit.

The museum is housed in a grand old building, and its foyer was lovely to sit in.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Around the corner, we bump into, once again, this lady. This time she is a copy, not the real thing as in the British Museum.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Walk to St Paul’s – Part 3

I had a nice view of St Paul’s all the way across the bridge.

Across the Millenium Bridge

I wasn’t the only one heading in that direction.

Across the Millenium Bridge

And here we are.

Across the Millenium Bridge

The very high dome of the Cathedral is certainly a sight. Imagine it back in the old days, in the 17th Century, when there were no other skyscrapers, when it would have towered above all the other buildings in the city, when all around it was filth and poverty. Londoners back then must really have thought that it was a place of God.

Walk to St Paul’s – Part 2

There were loads of people out enjoying the sunshine – office workers on lunch breaks, joggers, tourists from all over Europe… and the odd busker taking advantage of the low tide.

South Bank

The Thames isn’t really busy nowadays, just the odd barge or ferry or cruise boat.

Across the Millenium Bridge

And unlike in medieval times when there was only one bridge across (the infamous London bridge), there are now many ways to cross, even dedicated footbridges like this one.

Across the Millenium Bridge

British Museum – Part 6

The British Museum of course has treasures from more than just the Mediterranean, it also has a comprehensive collection from its own land. I liked the collection from Celtic Britain, before the Romans came. The Battersea Shield is from the Bronze Age and was exquisite.

Battersea Shield

The Romans of course had a big part to play in the making of Britain. The mosaic below of a lady is particularly fine.

Roman Mosaic

The peak of Roman Britain was when Emperor Hadrian came to visit. Like the current queen’s Golden Jubilee, one has to commemorate the occasion with something special, in this case, a bronze bust of the emperor himself. Nice moustache.

Emperor Hadrian

That’s the end of the visit. We didn’t even touch treasures from the Near and Far East and beyond, which I’m sure the museum has plenty of. I guess that has to be left for a future visit.

British Museum – Part 5

The jewel in the crown of the British Museum, in my opinion, were the Grecian galleries. I mean, what can you say when you see a whole temple before you?

Greek Galleries

How all of these pieces got here is rather controversial. In the early 19th Century, a certain Lord Elgin (then British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire) obtained permission from the Ottomans to remove sculptures from the Parthenon and other buildings. The British government later purchased his ‘loot’ and it has been on display at the British Museum ever since.

Greek Galleries

One can’t deny that they are exquisite up close; so beautifully formed, and surprisingly well-preserved.

Greek Galleries

Greek Galleries

The debate on whether Britain should return them has raged ever since. The British have currently refused to give them back, but the British weren’t the only ones who removed pieces from Greece – some other startling pieces of Ancient Greece are also in Paris, Berlin and Munich.

Greek Galleries

Having now seen the rest of the existing Parthenon sculptures in Athens itself (which I will go through when I post about Greece), it was probably good that they went to a museum early on and not been exposed to 20th Century Athens pollution. But having seen what a good job the Greeks have done with the new Acropolis museum, I see no reason why the British (and others who have taken from the Parthenon) can’t return them now. What do you think?

British Museum – Part 3

The Egyptian Galleries are probably the most visited of all the galleries at the British Museum. Most people seemed to be congregating either around the Rosetta Stone, or the mummies. While one can’t deny the effect the Rosetta Stone had on Egyptology, I didn’t find it very remarkable looking. I preferred to view the giant busts carved out of red granite instead.

Egyptian Galleries

Or perhaps one from basalt?

Egyptian Galleries

Once again, the details are fascinating, and amazing, considering they might have been carved as long as 3000 years ago.

Egyptian Galleries

And since the British, um, collected these pieces, perhaps 150 or so years ago, they’ve certainly taken care of it very well.

British Museum – Part 2

Aside from being huge, the British Museum had a lot of impressive exhibits. I think the Assyrian Gallery was one of them. Who doesn’t like an impressive statue or two?

Assyrian Galleries

Or three?

Assyrian Galleries

Not having studied ancient history at school, all I know about the Assyrians were that they were an ancient civilisation in what is now northern Iraq, and was mentioned in the Bible a lot.

Assyrian Galleries

But when you look closely at the wall above, see the intricate stone carving and inscribed texts, you realise that they must be a civilisation to be reckoned with.

Assyrian Galleries

Assyrian Galleries

The Ancient Greeks and Egyptians might get more attention, but in many ways, the works by the Assyrians were finer.

Assyrian Galleries

One might have reservations about all of these panels being ‘collected’ and shown so far away from home, but these works of art probably would not have survived if they had remained in Iraq, given the number of conflicts in the region over the last 100 years.