Monday, 11 November 2013

Victoria, and Albert...

The Victoria and Albert museum in London is possibly my favourite museum. It has such a diverse and extensive collection of all sorts of things, from ceramics to carpets, diamonds to dresses. There is a field nearby and, if I could, I'd love to transport the whole place here, just for my enjoyment. Too greedy?

On Friday I headed into London to meet up with my niece - just back from the Himalayas, where she has been volunteering as a doctor (so pleased for her - she had a wonderful time!) and to see the Masterpieces of Chinese Painting exhibition at the V&A. We ended up spending the whole afternoon there, beginning with lunch with a friend, and then afternoon tea, and then more tea later in the Friends' room - well, we had a lot of catching up to do.

The Chinese exhibition was a little disappointing - the figures so stylized that they became a bit repetitive. Once in a while, however, there would be something amusing, or exceptionally beautiful. There was a long scroll depicting Nine Dragons, which looked like a storyboard for a Pixar film - the dragons sending mischievous (to my eyes) sideways glances as they flew around (the link for the exhibition has a lovely animation of dragons, if you click on the main banner at the top). Another silk scroll of Prosperous Suzhou, which showed a whole town in minute and exquisite detail, and that took the artists three years to complete, really needed hours of scrutiny through a magnifying glass to admire the rigging on the boats, the buildings, the hundreds of people, or the millimetre high birds and animals. Just beautiful...

Later, after more tea, we headed off to see the Club to Catwalk exhibition, of clothes from the 1980s. Of course, as a new art school graduate back then, and living in London, this is exactly how I looked... Uh. Not.

Of course we had a few folk around that made the effort, but with not much money, and not having a lycra body, I'm afraid it was jeans, tee shirts, and baggy checked shirts all the way for me...

There are a few items of clothing that I wish I'd held on to, tho', like the bright blue jumpsuit, and the pink, over-sized, Boy George-style cotton coat. Not to wear them, but as relics of a bygone age - and I know a few young things who might have enjoyed trying them on!

The art school fashion shows (straddling the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s) were always fun - I particularly remember a dress made entirely of looped rubber bands, for instance. The best dress ever, tho', was one based on this style of dress from the mid-18thC, but with extraordinarily wide panniers.

The model slowly sidled on (for what seemed an age) until the dress filled the entire width of the stage. No hope of turning, or advancing down the catwalk - all she could do was take a bow (to uproarious applause) and then sidle off again. Brilliant. Hysterical!

A lovely day, with a lovely niece. Great fun. Thank you! xx

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