Monday, 18 October 2010

A V&A Day

The Monday before my course started I decided to make the most of a day of freedom. Destination: the V&A. It was a blissful day, 5 hours spent wandering around the museum by myself. Perhaps that sounds lonely, but losing myself in the labyrinth of a museum was sheer bliss. I felt as calm as the cool white stone of the sculptures as I drifted through continents and centuries.
The building itself is as beautiful as the treasures it holds.
Eating my sandwiches in the courtyard I spotted these plaques tucked into a corner that made me smile.
I fell for the charm of the cherubs, and couldn't help but snap this cutie.

The Wheel of Fashion...
Listen closely and you might just hear the hush of the distant waves...
The Islamic Art rooms were possibly my favourite; they were alive with colour and pattern.
Perhaps it is wrong of me, but I completely missed out the paintings. I don't know why, but all those towering canvases of surly nobels in dark shades don't do much for me. But give me some good iron work...

That is the thing I love about the V&A: there is something for everyone. I love anything domestic - tables, chairs and pretty mirrors, but also jewellery, Islamic tiles and twisting black patterns of iron. It got me thinking about how we define art, and how anyone can begin to classify what is 'good' art or not when it is so subjective and deeply personal.

To me intricate iron keys were more beautiful than ancient portraits. Is art defined by the craftmanship behind it, by the tradition of the art form or simply by whether something is beautiful and worth hanging on a wall? If it is the latter the edges of art become particularly hazy. I would happily look at the beautiful softness of the old wood and stone I saw in one of the rooms every single day. And what about the smooth and beautiful apricot coloured shell? That, to me, is more beautiful than any painting.

Perhaps, however, I am missing the point. The debate over modern art vs more traditional forms is one full of heated opinions and a debate that will no doubt continue to rage for as long humans continue to produce art. But maybe the question in itself contradicts the nature of art. Shouldn't art be about personal expression, personal interpretation and above anything - enjoying the diverse and colourful world our eyes have to offer us.
Everywhere you look there is something to see, even in sometimes unexpected places (up!).
The V&A book shop is the perfect place for leafing through fashion and art books. I dreamt of leaving carrying piles and piles of new books, smelling that new book smell and looking forward to placing the new additions proudly on my fashion bookshelf. Unfortunately my bank balance meant it was not to be...
But I can dream.
"Once upon a time there were four little rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tial and Peter..."

One of the rooms at the V&A at the moment is dedicated to my childhood hero: Beatrix Potter. Surrounded by sketches of bunnies and a world of woodland creatures I could feel myself regressing to childhood. Walking around the room was like walking back through the years. I was once more the chubby little red-head covered in freckles, eating toast from my Mrs Tiggy-Winkle plate and cowering under the covers as my mum read me the frightening tale of Mr McGregor.
Tracy Emin's patchwork bag for Longchamp.
Of course I couldn't leave without paying a visit to the fashion rooms. I found myself wishing I had been around in the 70s just so I could have worn an Ossie Clark maxi dress or swirling Zandra Rhodes prints.
A pink dress left from the recent Grace Kelly exhibition.
A Steven Meisel jigsaw puzzle.
A wall of theatre posters had me wishing myself at the West End.
Showcased in the V&A were costumes from the stage producion of the Lion King. I remember watching the show when I was younger and being in awe of the costumes, but from my seat in the audience I had no idea how intricate they were. Therefore I really enjoyed seeing them up close and being able to properly appreciate the work that went in to them.
It seems a shame in a way that the audience never gets to see and admire show costumes up this closely.
In another room I found the four-poster bed of my dreams and could have quite happily jumped on to the vibrant ochre and scarlet sheets.
Eventually after 5 hours of wandering my feet gave up and told me it was time to go home. On my way out I paid a quick visit to the shop and very nearly parted with £7o for a special edition laser cut piece by Rob Ryan. I really am in love with everything he does, and although on Monday I may have been good and kept my purse closed, I am determined to one day have something Rob Ryan hanging on my wall.



  1. I think that you are truly inspiring, and your writing has brightened up my day! :)

  2. And you have just made mine :)
    Thank you x