Well hello again!
Since I had an unexpected day off today (Tuesday), and most of my friends here had to work or had to be at university, I decided to pay the V&A Museum in South Kensington a visit. I never really mind going to museums (museums/musea? I reckon both are correct in English) alone, because it means I can take all the time I want, whenever I want! As of today I’ve officially decided that this is my favourite museum in London. It’s such a beautiful building, and there is SO much to see! Its collection is absolutely massive, so I’m sure I will be back again to explore all the things I didn’t explore today. If you decide to go to the V&A museum, I strongly recommend you to get a map of the Museum; in this way you can overlook all the options and make a plan of what to visit.
The whole first floor of the museum is divided up into:
– Asia (China, Islamic Middle East, Japan, Korea, Sculpture, South Asia, South-East Asia)
-Europe (Cast Courts, Medieval & Renaissance, Raphael, Sculpture)
– Materials & Techniques (Fashion, Sculpture)
The second/third floor was all about Materials and Techniques; Ironwork, Jewellery, Metalware, Portraits, etc etc etc. I didn’t go to levels 4, 5 and 6. This might give you an idea of how massive the building is.
I went to see the Fashion part of the museum, in which they display all sorts of clothing throughout the last three centuries, I saw beautiful Raphaël paintings (I wasn’t allowed to take any photos of them though), Eastern and Islamic art, Greek sculptures, photography from the Middle East, and lastly the Theatre and Performance part.
I will show you my photos now. If you don’t like a particular subject (for example ‘fashion’), just scroll to the next one!
The main hall… so pretty
‘Couture and Commerce: 1870-1910: The fashion trade was increasingly international with top couturiers such as Worth and Pingat attracting clients from all over Europe and America. Couture houses produced exquisitely made clothes using superb silks, furs, lace and embroidery. ‘
‘The British company Redfern established an unrivalled reputation for its tailor-made suits.’
‘The Male Wardrobe, 1840-1860: As women’s dress became increasingly elaborate, men’s formal clothing became dark and plain. A gentleman could, however, display his individuality and taste with a brightly patterned ‘fancy’ waistocat, either bought from an outfitter or hand-embroidered by his wife or daughter.’
‘The wide hooped skirts of the mantua were already old-fashioned in the 1750s , but women were required to wear this cumbersome style to royal assemblies and balls. It required skill to negotiate doorways and carriages while maintaining a graceful posture.’
‘Paris was renowned worldwide as the centre for luxurious high fashion. Thousands of people were employed in the trade, and it was a vital part in France’s economy. After the second world war, designers such as Christian Dior, Balenciaga and Givenchy became household names. Their collections dictated changes in style.’
(Sorry all these photos and descriptions are not in chronologic order) ‘The Modern Woman 1925-1940: The 1920s and ’30s saw a new freedom for women in dressing for sport and leisure. Many designers introduced ‘resort’ collections for the smart set, using innovative fabrics such as jersey. Coco Chanel championed the trouser suit and even created a de luxe evening version in shimmering sequins.’
Evening dress, Charles James, 1938, Printed Silk
Revolution 1960-1970: A new generation of designers brought fresh ideas to the making and selling of clothes. Mary Quant and her contemporaries succesfully challenged the dominance of Paris fashion. They opened boutiques selling affordable, youthful fashions. Their creations became succesful exports epitomising ‘Swinging London’.
Ensemble Dries van Noten, Spring/Summer 2008
Then I went to see the Rafael paintings. As I already mentioned, I couldn’t take any photos.
Off to the Middle/Far East; This is the Hindu God Shiva, Lord of the Dance, ‘performing a wild dance of creation and destruction.’
Lustre Tiles from Iran. Islamic art was meant to convey a sense of order, a world in which the relationships between God, the ruler and his subjects were in balance.
The building of the V&A museum
Laurent Delvaux, about 1725: Vertumnus and Pomona. ‘Vertumnus was a nature god who could assume any shape. Here he woos the nymph Pomona. He gained her presence in the guise of an old woman, but then removed his mask to reveal himself as a youthful god. The sculptor, Delvaux, was trained in The Netherlands, but worked in England from 1717 – 1728.’
Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, Neptune and Triton, about 1622: ‘This work by the great Italian sculptor Bernini was one of the most celebrated sights in Rome. It shows Neptune, god of the seas, with his son Triton, who was a merman. ‘
The Exhibition that was on, no photography allowed.
Just your regular medieval door knocker.
There were quite a lot of areas with construction work going on, look at this massive (David?) statue!!
Huge Roman pillar..
Look at the detail!
Theatre & Performance
Traditionally an auditorium is segregated according to the social status of the spectators. In Elizabethan theatres the ‘groundlings’ stood around the stage. Their equivalents in 19th century theatres would be in the gallery, far from the stage and also from the wealthier members of the audience, who would be in the circle and boxes below.
Sorry for the blurred picture, but I loved these! Masks for the Greek plays.
Costumes of the Lion King
I can definitely recommend this museum to everybody visiting London. There’s something to each person’s liking, whether that might be Asian, Medieval, Renaissance or Jewellery. Make sure to get yourself a map!
Thank you for reading my blog,