Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Victoria & Albert

A couple of weeks ago I went to the V&A's Bright Young Things Late Night. It was fab - we checked out the Cecil Beaton exhibition (quite small but delightful, nostalgic, Queenie only not Vogue, wonderful Technicolour coronation video), bopped to the jazz band in the main hall, swayed to the pianists in the cafe, admired everyone in their headbands, regretted the queue for the Beaton-esque portrait sessions and generally gallivanted around the museum after dark. Obviously I never got round to blogging about it because I'm useless...

The V&A is such a strange and magnificent place though, I forget sometimes. The internal geography is baffling and possibly magical. I don't think it obeys the laws of physics. How can there be a plaster cast of a cathedral in there? It is such a testament to our weird hoarding habits. So very many things. And I LOVE things. They're the best. Their jewellery collection is beyond brilliant. You can never go too many times. It is so sparkly. I hate being a stereotype but I can't help myself around beautiful jewellery - it is irresitible.

Plique-a-jour enamel orchid - this is backless enamel, it imitates stained glass, and is held together by gold wire. It is one of the most perfect things I've ever seen.

There are just so many things I could wear from the jewellery collection. Almost all of it. Jewellery from 3000 B.C. to the present. I like the way that if you get yourself in the right position you can see yourself reflected under the jewellery. I look goooood in the Londonderry tiara.

This robe is made from golden spider silk. Spiders! Tens of thousands of them spinning away, their silk being spun into threads and woven into this. I love the spiders embroidered on to it and the way the gold seems to glow from within.

Hey there Alexander McQueen and Giles Deacon dresses. Plato's Atlantis and crystal Pacmen. 

Rood screen - casual.

I've been to the V&A many times over the years but there are so many corners and rooms and displays that I've never seen before. I think it unfolds before you like... something in a children's book (which one?). The Late Night was a salient reminder that there is so still much more to see there. I'm already looking forward to the next event, the Night of Norouz to celebrate the Spring Equinox, and more exploring.

Have you been to the V&A? Which is your favourite room/collection? Are there any other museums that so perfectly mix art and history and miscellany?

Chuck x


  1. Ah, the V&A. I sometimes forget that I spent five days a week there for nearly two years. A special time. Despite that I can still get lost in there - I got used to going the 'back' way to places and now whenever I visit I can't quite work out how to get to where I want to go without using a staff door. Very confusing.

    I currently love the ceramics galleries on the top floor the best but I can't wait for the revamped fashion wing which will be finished in a couple of years I think. That will be brilliant. Theatre and Performance is pretty good too. Oh and the paintings. The eclecticness of it is its strength and why it's so much more interesting than other museums in my opinion - nowhere else apart from the Met in NY touches it.

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  3. I'v never been but this seems awesome. I saw something about that spider robe ::shudder:: - how insane is that?

  4. The V&A always goes one of two ways for me. If I've already been stressed out by being in *LONDON* then getting there & having to walk to an exhibition, then be told to leave my bags in a check in, which is closed, so having to walk to the other end of the place to check my stuff in... is not good. But on a Spring day, if I'm chilled out, there's nothing better than a stroll around the exhibitions, playing in the shop & lounging out in the garden.

  5. The V&A looks absolutely amazing! Maybe one day I can visit.

  6. I am most jealous! I've only been once, but I want to visit again. We recently had an exhibition here in Western Australia from V&A, it was grand.

  7. No... but everything is so stunning!!!

    Love & Lollies... Jessa

    Confessions of the Cupcake Countessa

  8. Oh my gosh, this is awesome. I've been to the V&A a few times but, really embarrassed to say, I've never actually spent that much time inside. I normally just wander through and sit by the fountain in the middle with a coffee and people watch. Oh man, that's really bad. I really really need to get over there next time I'm in London. I'm always hearing wonderful things about it - exactly the sort of things you've said.... that it feels endless and that there is so much to explore.

    Thanks for the reminder that it should be at the top of my list of things to do when I'm in London.

    p.s. the Giles dress is ah-ma-zing. xx

  9. Have you been to the glass galleries? So many beautiful little glass objects in there. I go every time I am in the V&A.