When Alex and I went to London last week we decided that we were going to try and see some different kinds of museum work, apart from the textiles, Asian art, etc., that we usually look at. So Alex went to try and find a room in the V&A that he had not really appreciated before, where he would really study the objects and take a few photographs.
Alex chose a room of displaying small gold or silver boxes in one of the Rosalind and Arthur Gilbert Galleries. These gem-studded boxes are clearly very precious and all showed evidence of the highest quality workmanship.
One of the most stunning aspects of that part of the V&A is the stunning view over the Madejski courtyard in the centre of the museum.
When you love museums and visit them regularly, you tend to accumulate a list of favourites that you check out each time as old friends. With large National museums there are also lots of rooms that you wander through without really paying so much attention; maybe because you do not see a connection between your particular interests and the type of artefacts on display. This is particularly true of places like the V&A, where the range of material is huge and much of it consists of very specialised collections.
The work I produce is mostly small and intricate so I would have expected to feel a natural appreciation for this type of very detailed work, yet I confess that I find some of it a little over-fussy. I cannot help feeling that setting off all that very fine detail against some empty spaces would allow the designs to “breathe” a bit better.
Next time you visit a favourite museum, make sure to have a close look at some very different objects!