Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Victoria and Albert

Wednesday 18th Jan:

I really am oblivious. I had absolutely no idea just how massive this museum was before I arrived. This place will eat you up if you are not careful. The upside is, there is so much amazingness inside that you won't even know it's happening.

The photo above is actually the courtyard in the middle of the museum. In spite of the rain, it was rather lovely.

These were two of my favourite sculptures, particularly the second one as it is unusual to see carved busts of children.

I know this photo isn't the best quality but this dress is part of Alexander McQueen's last collection; it is called 'Plato's Atlantis'. Can you see the dress behind it...

It is a Giles Deacon and is called the Pacman dress. How appropriate.

This was one of my favourite rooms. Not because I'm particularly interested in sculpture but because of the how the room looked when you stood at one end and looked to the other. Almost reminds me of the witch's courtyard in Narnia, only with the noticeable absence of James McAvoy shaped Fauns.

I really try to avoid taking photos with random tourists in them so I didn't manage to get a decent photo of this room from ground level. Well I did but they have been ruined by people. I did, however, snap this...

This is the ceiling in the hall of one of the Museum's entrances. A view from the bottom...

and a view from the top...

I found this room a bit creepy, to be honest. I think it was all the tomb scupltures that did it. It kind of felt like a storage room with all the left over bits they couldn't figure out what to do with. These Roman columns were fairly spectacular though.

The spaces of the museum I loved the most weren't necessarily the exhibit rooms but the joining spaces, like the hallways and staircases. Like this...

This is the china room (as in crockery, not the country).

This is a really creepy sculpture that, once again, made no sense to me but was strangley engaging (the gold has dripped onto her hands as well, that is what she is looking at).

The same goes for this one...

The entrance hall.

I think I'll leave it there as you are probably sick of all the photos. These photos don't really do this museum justice, in terms of scale or quality of exhibits. There is enough to see and do to last a good few days, I'd say. I'll be back tomorrow to finish off the week with the Natural History Museum.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm all over it now

Ok, so I'm more than a bit behind with my posting. In my defence the last week and a half has been a bit on the hectic side. But now, you'll be happy to hear, I'm sick which means plenty of time to catch up. By the end of today I'll be all over it. I'm tempted to just put it all together in one epic post but for the sake of any readers I have, I will break up the monotony in to separate posts.  

So, in the week before I headed north (16th - 20th Jan) I crossed off some pretty big things from my 'to-do' list.

Tuesday the 17th: Tate Britain and Shakespeare's Globe

Of all the galleries/museums I went to while in London I think I liked the Tate Britain the best (or, at least as much as the National Gallery). It was a little tricky to navigate around with all the little rooms that connect to a million other rooms but I didn't take as long to get through as I anticipated.

I really appreciated the diversity of the exhibits. The big one at the moment is the Romantics exhibit. There is one painting in particular that has stuck with me, which is unusual because I tend to find Romantic paintings a bit depressing and same same. That's not to say that Henry Wallis' Chatterton (1856) isn't depressing, I mean it is, after all, a suicide scene. It was a bit unclear as to whether we were allowed to take photos in the gallery so I didn't risk it. Consequently this image is just from the net.

The subject was a 17 year old poet who killed himself with arsenic; Byron titled him a martyr to the art. Not so sure about the martyrdom bit, I just think it is a beautiful but tragic painting, the fact that it is based on a real person only makes it more so. This photo doesn't really do it justice but the boy's hair is painted an amazing bright orange.

Enough arty faff (can you tell I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to art...??). As well as this painting, there was a collection of photos that I absolutely loved.

Tucked away in a corner were 6 David Bailey photos. I've not long ago read about David Bailey and have been dying to see some of his original work so I was pretty damn excited to come across this tiny collection. Once again I wasn't sure about taking photos so this image is courtesy of good old google.

L to R: Michael Caine, Michael Cooper, Mick Jagger, David Hockney, John and Paul, and Susan Murray (1965)
The Michael Caine shot is definitely my favourite. I also like that he photographed photographers, although I 'spose David Hockney is first known for his painting rather than his photography.
Alright, now for some photos that I did take.

River entrance to the Tate Britain
The ceiling in the entrance hall

An installation that was very pretty but made no sense to me
After dragging myself away from the Britain I jumped on the underground, Globe bound. I got there in time for the last tour at 4:30 so, understandably, the light was fading pretty quickly hence the golden blurry photos below.
I have to warn you, these photos aren't very good because the tour guide didn't give us much time. Not that I'm blaming her for my lack of photography talent.

Before the tour started I had time to wander around the little museum they had upstairs.
Globe in minature
and again
The Queen Elizabeth I costume worn by Jane Lapotaire

The Globe Stage
Stage's ceiling
Wooden columns painted to replicate marble

Pavements outside engraved with the names of the Globe benefactors

I was a little disappointed with the tour to be honest. Actually, I think we just got a dud tour guide. She was a bit pushy and rushed us so we didn't get long to take photos, hence the atrocious quality of what you've just seen. Still, it was pretty amazing to be there, even if it is the third reincarnation of the theatre. The first Globe burned down after a cannon was fired as part of a performance of Henry VIII and embers landed on the thatched roof. Thanks to those nutjob Puritans, the second one was destroyed after the Civil War. 

It was lovely to see, I only wish I'd gone earlier and had more time to enjoy the space.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Church

Friday was another big day. First on the agenda? Westminster Abbey. But not before another few quick snaps of ol' Benny.

And across the road...Westminster!!

Obviously there were no photos allowed inside but I did sneak a few of the cloisters (below) and some of the gardens. Everyone semed to be making the most of being outside though - there were camera flashses going off everywhere.

More cloister views
After awakening from my Westminster induced daze (it is unbelievably beautiful and interesting) I walked. And walked and walked. I had intended to make my way to Westminister Cathedral but I got distracted by St Paul's Park. So lovely. So lovely in fact that I kind of forgot to take photos! I did instagram a few though so go here. I want to picnic there in Spring. That would be perfection.

I did get a photo of the squirrel that kept hassling me for my lunch money. Well ok, not my money, but definitely my lunch.
Look at those shifty eyes!

And then I spotted....

Yes, I'm that oblivious that I didn't realise how close I was to Buckingham Palace. I don't deserve my British citizenship.

The last two photos were taken in Green Park which is just as lovely as St James' Park.

After wandering through Green Park I headed towards Knightsbridge. I had a very brief step inside Harrods before jumping on the tube and heading home. This is what Harrods looks like when the sun goes down...