Antiques Museums Victoria And Albert And Me

Victoria And Albert And Me! Hate Mondays? Try a Monday at the V&A. Mondays will never be the same again.I got the opportunity to spend a couple of days in London with a friend the other week so I jumped at the chance and, fingers crossed, I might get to visit the Arts and Crafts Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

I have a small antiques shop on the edge of the Lake District so can feel a bit cut off from the metropolis and all the vast wealth of museums in the capital. Magazine articles and internet access are OK up to a point, but nothing beats actually standing in front of a magnificent painting or being allowed to touch artifacts that are tens of thousands of years old.Monday morning, luckily the weather was dry, so wearing my most comfortable pair of shoes - an absolute must for tramping around London - down to the nearest tube station and the start of the adventure! Funny how if you did it every day of the week the novelty would wear off, but being an 'underground novice', I' m still intrigued by the sounds, the smells and especially the people. Where are they all going and why don't they ever smile, let alone speak! Never mind, when in Rome etc, etc, I can always get a friendly smile from the concert hall quality buskers when I drop them a few coins.Mustn't get too involved with 'people watching' that I forget to watch out for South Kensington, jump off the tube and no need to even leave the underground as there's a side entrance to the V & A.

Wow!!! The building is breathtaking, the scale is awesome. How many people have visited since it was opened and just stood and been transported by its sheer beauty? It takes a little time to drag your eyes away from the decoration of the structure let alone think about the items on display.Where to start, so many wonderful displays so take so deep breath, maybe even sit over a cup of coffee and make a plan. Certain rooms I didn't want to miss and top of the list came the Arts and Crafts Exhibition closely followed by jewellery, then glassware and ceramics. Don't forget that one of my customers had mentioned the full size copy of 'David' and the metal ware, the miniatures and the Victorian pictures must not be missed.

What time was it already? No time to waste, drink up and get going!.The Arts and Crafts Exhibition was beautifully staged showing examples from around the world of furniture, metalwork, fabric, glass, and so much more from the period around the 1900's. Fascinating to see pieces from America and Japan alongside European offerings.

My favourite was the simple oak furniture by Voysey, you must choose your own personal objects - what a wonderful dilemma! Not too crowded on a Monday so I could get near enough to the cabinets for a good view of the Art Nouveau jewellery - exquisite.My appetite was wetted for more gold and diamonds so onward and up the marble staircase to the splendour of the necklaces, tiaras and costumes on display from the period of grand stately living.Time's flying by and I keep getting distracted by passing things that are just so exciting that I must stop and look. The skilled craftsmanship in the making of each individual item is what fascinates and thrills me. The hands of a Georgian clock, the intricate fretwork of a metal grille, the workmanship of the everyday key - breathtaking!.Then, by chance, I wonder into a room full of musical instruments.

Names I've never heard of and can't remember, but again what does it matter. What really matters is that at a date in the past, somebody sat for weeks, maybe months or even years to fashion a lute, a spinet, a harpsichord and it's there for me to marvel at. Consider the attention to the detail given to the back of a guitar that when played wont even be seen!.Words are inadequate to describe the treasures on display at the V & A.

Sufficient to say that every staircase, every ceiling and column of the building itself deserves appreciation. The contents of each cabinet are breathtaking and beautifully displayed with informative notes.I could carry on as I did on that Monday when I returned with aching feet and a bursting soul, but take a day off and find time to visit a museum. They're all around the country and deserve our support.

.Joy Pearson runs an antique shop on the beautiful Yorkshire Dales/Lake District border.

Lots of antiques, collectables and witty friendly banter. try

By: Joy Pearson

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