Saturday, January 08, 2011

The V&A is AOK

I've only been back in London a week and I've become a bit of a culture vulture again. Case in point, on Monday I spent several pleasant hours wandering around the Victoria & Albert Museum. A big fan of the Queen Victoria & Prince Albert love story, I couldn't resist calling in.

In fact, we'd only been talking about the V&A when I was in New York for NYE so I was really looking forward to exploring it when I got back to London.

Having visited the place now, I have to concur with AH that the V&A has the most beautiful and diverse gift shop I think I've ever seen. I couldn't resist buying some goodies, though I only scored one gift for myself and bestowed the others on my Mum & sister. Gold star for me.

I didn't go into any of the special exhibitions that the Museum was showcasing, simply because I figured there was so much else to occupy my attention. I spent a long time browsing the jewellery collection, and nearly got kicked out for photographing a really ugly jewel-encrusted Jack Russell brooch that I wanted to show Gus the Wonderdog's parents. Fortunately the museum guards didn't see me photograph the 19th Century amethyst & diamond grape necklace that I emailed to K. I'm such a rebel.

I was equally impressed with the silver & gold collections (anything sparkly, it seems). Some of the cases had really comprehensive information panels so I learned a bit about how silver was used in the olden days as a symbol of wealth and prestige - and passed down to family members through the generations. There was so much to see that I didn't know where to look next.

It's a good thing that like the V&A, most London museums and galleries are free to visit. I love to visit them, but I find it really easy to overdose on all the information and spectacle that I find there. Having left the V&A I seriously thought about calling into The British Museum across the road, but I didn't because I thought my head might explode. Still, they have an Egyptian exhibition on at the moment that I simply HAVE to see - a job for next weekend, maybe.

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