Hello, my lovely readers! I hope you’re all doing well and having productive days. More museum hopping in London today on Schön Living. If you haven’t read the previous post on the Natural History Museum, then check it out in order to continue the journey on today’s post to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
After spending a few hours exploring the Natural History Museum, I made my way to the Victoria and Albert Museum (the V&A) with my family. It’s located a few steps away on Cromwell Road.Once we approached the museum, we were at awe with the lovely details of the building which is a masterpiece in itself. The main doorway on Cromwell Road has beautiful sculptures and architectural ornaments. The museum was originally founded in 1825, but it was renamed by Queen Victoria in 1899 in memory of Prince Albert. Sir Aston Webb was the creative architect behind the grand façade at the entrance. Exquisitely grand and a beautifully done architectural masterpiece. Museum admission is free of charge, except for some exhibitions which carry a separate charge.
The stone frontage is decorated with 32 single statue sculptures of English craftsmen, painters and designers. The inscription on the archway was adapted from Sir Joshua Reynolds, ‘The excellence of every art must consist in the complete accomplishment of its purpose’. Very inspiring and true.
Inside the museum, a beautiful and colourful chandelier hangs below the dome in the entrance hall. This is known as the Rotunda Chandelier. It’s made entirely out of blue and green blown glass in addition to steel.
The museum’s interior is rather simplistic, airy ,light, filled with artefacts and wide collections of art and design.
Islamic Middle East Gallery has a fantastic display of fine Islamic objects, art and design.Jameel Gallery exhibits fantastic objects from the Ottoman Empire, some of them dating back to the 16th-century. Personally, I’m very interested in Turkish pottery and tile work after visiting Istanbul. The mixture of turquoise, blue, green and red colours is very Arabesque and eye-catching. That type of pottery work is called Iznik, after the small town in Turkey where it had originated.The beautiful Ottoman fireplace below dates back to around 1731. Again, the lovely Iznik pottery decoration is clearly recognised.
Jameel Gallery was amazing and we all quite enjoyed it. The V&A has approximately 150 galleries, therefore a visit to the museum should be carefully planned out to avoid missing the highlights of the museum. Having visited the Natural History Museum on the same day, my family and I decided to look around a couple of galleries before having coffee at the V&A café. To reach the café, you must go out into the garden which is outside the main museum shop. It’s more like a spacious courtyard with a lovely fountain.
Upon entering the building which houses the café, the aromatic smell of coffee hit my nostrils. After such a long day hopping around two gigantic museums, we needed to rest and enjoy some coffee. There was no better place than the splendid V&A restaurant/café.We ordered English Breakfast Tea, coffee, lemon drizzle loaf cake and the famous Victoria Cake, after all we were at the Victoria and Albert Museum. A Victoria Cake should be mandatory there! The café is self-serviced.
The most interesting thing about the café was of course the building. The decor and architecture were glorious. Definitely the most interesting public space in London. It was almost impossible to pay attention to anything else but the marvelous decor which surrounded us. There are three lavishly designed and original Victorian rooms, where you can sip your tea and enjoy some food as if you’ve stepped back in time to the Victorian era. On the way out, I stopped by the V&A museum shop to buy some greeting cards. I absolutely love collecting greeting cards and post cards from around the world. I’ve got a big collections and they always come in handy for special occasions. There’s nothing better than giving a special someone a very special card from a very special place like the V&A.
V&A: A Souvenir Guide, would make a lovely gift for Father’s Day or anyone wanting to learn more about art and design. For only 5 quid you immediately support the museum to continue spreading knowledge on art and design and enriching people’s lives.I purchased my cards and added them to my collection at home. I had to buy the Victoria and Albert post card. You must know that they had a wonderful marriage and quite an inspiring love story. I’ll leave you with a paragraph from a love letter written by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria before their wedding;
I need not tell you that since we left, all my thoughts have been with you at Windsor, and that your image fills my whole soul. Even in my dreams I never imagined that I should find so much love on earth. How that moment shines for me still when I was close to you, with your hand in mine. Those days flew by so quickly, but our separation will fly equally so.
One of the very best things a person can do when traveling is making enough time to visit a museum. It’s such a splendid and knowledge-enriching experience. Museums offer lots of inspiration and widen our horizons.
I hope you enjoyed the museum hopping blog posts in London. Please leave me your comments. It would be lovely to know that I’ve got an audience of readers.
Wishing you all the very best.