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April 2, 2005

International Treasure

VandA 001.jpg

Last year The Poet and I went to see a film called National Teasure. The central characters follow a trail of clues to beat the bad guys to a secret which turns out to be a collection of archealogical treasures. I was reminded of this film when we spent, sadly, only half a day at the Victoria and Albert Museum in the last days of our holiday in London.

In the days when the sun never set on the British Empire all sorts of wonderful things made their way by various means to England. The blitzkrieg of World War II was responsible for the destruction of large areas of English cities, leaving fragments of history with no home. Hundreds of these treasures of the world's past have made their way to the collection held in the V&A.

I think that you could not see all there is to see in this museum if you went there all day, every day for a year. The curators have imaginative ways of helping the visitor to see a selection of the collection like the 'Beauty' exhibition that was on while we were there. They had not moved any of the items from their usual place in the museum. A pathway through the halls were marked by pink footprints on the floor and discrete labels beside each of the featured items. Armed with an audio guide, the visitor moved from item to item learning about how each of them represented some culture's definition of beauty.

The first piece in the exhibition was this beautiful example of the work of Italian scultor Canova.

Posted by robynls at April 2, 2005 4:58 PM

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That is just beautiful! I wonder how long it took him?

Posted by: Bonnie at April 2, 2005 10:19 PM

That's one of the (many) things I love about the British - the way they present museums to the public. No matter what the subject is, it's always done with high style and taste, even in the remotest little villages up in the North, we would run across tiny little museums of some sort or other and we'd be all alone, learning bit by bit about British history. The attendants would be so courteous and friendly, and always hospitable, never rude or too tired to show us a good time. I remember one such museum in Scotland, the John Paul Jones homestead and museum. We went there on a very wet and rainy day, we were the only ones there, and the gentleman who was running it was so nice - in the end he went out to his car and gave us a book of his own because we'd mentioned we had read other books by that author. Such a great and wonderful country!

Posted by: Bex at April 2, 2005 10:38 PM

I love the V and A! You are right, it is an endless source of delight and education. Canova's woman looks, well, relaxed. Laura www.laurelines.typepad.com

Posted by: Laura at April 3, 2005 10:16 PM

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