Now I’m going to talk about the Victorian and Albert Museum. It’s a museum that I’ve gone to occasionally over the years but didn’t make it a point to go. It’s a big of a strange museum with an eclectic collection. But it does have a wonderful collection of non-Western art and some fascinating exhibitions on fashion and design. Now that I’m a little bit more fascinated with design, I found it much more compelling.
We first went to the copies room. It’s a huge room with these plaster casts of famous monuments from all over Europe. There is Michelangelo’s David and the Trajan Column, cut in half because it is too large to fit the height of the room. It has copies of magnificent doors of churches, fountains, and much more. I don’t like it. The room feels so crowded and fake, which it is. I’ll admit that the effect has a certain impressive feel to it since they have brought together all of these disparate monuments. However, I feel that each one loses its significance when jumbled together. I prefer to see these works of art individually and in their original form. I’m a traditionalist, I suppose.
On the way, we did see a magnificent series of angel statues. Formerly, four statues stood in front of Cardinal Wosley’s palace. However, two statues made their way to the museum but two were lost. Recently, the two lost statues were found in an estate in England; they had been outside for many years. The museum is currently trying to raise the funds to purchase them from the current owners. For now, the four statues are exhibited together. It’s neat to see the difference between the two statues that had been preserved inside and the two that had been subject to the elements. It’s a striking contrast.
I also got a kick out of the fashion galleries. They had a series of displays showing how fashion changed over the decades/centuries from the late Regency era to the present day. You could see the outrageously voluminous costumes slowly transform into flapper outfits (including one inspired by surrealism) to the practical outfits during WWII to the development of punk fashion in the 1980s.
There was also a brilliant exhibition called “Disobedient Objects” that was about objects from recent protests in the past 30 years. I was elated. It didn’t even occur to me that a museum would keep the buttons, the signs, etc from global protests. This is what I love writing about so it was so neat to see such recent objects. For instance, there were these cardboard shields with book titles painted on them that were used in recent protests against budget cuts to libraries and educational programs. There were instructions and an example of gas masks made from liter soda bottles from Turkey in the recent Gezi Park Protests. There were textiles made by women in Columbia detailing their heartbreak from murders and drug smuggling. So many magnificent objects. I was really gratified to see that they had a Guerilla Girls banner.
That’s all for now! Next, I’ll talk about Hampton Court!