Claire in London

Claire is a junior majoring in history and anthropology, with a minor in political science, in Dedman College. In fall 2011 she is studying at King’s College London with IFSA-Butler, in partnership with SMU Abroad.

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The Victoria and Albert Museum

Yesterday I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum and spent just over four hours browsing the massive collection. The experience was incredible and I can’t even begin to recite all the many things I saw. I was able to take several pictures because they allow flash photography in almost every part of the museum!

The museum building is beautiful, and I could spot it’s tower from quite a ways away.

Albert and Victoria Museum

 

 Two exhibits that were off limits to photography of any kind were the Raphaels and the Jewelry collection.

In the Raphael room, the canvases were massive, lining the walls all around a large set of panels. The fabric panels were in three layers, with the two outside layers inverted slightly to the center row, so that you could recline and look up at the huge drawings from different angles. The area was called the “Textile Field” and was part of the V&A special exhibit called ‘The Power of Making’. Several people were taking naps and I even saw one couple taking photos of each other while one would pretend to ‘swim’ in the massive sea of panels.

As far as the Jewelry display, I have to say it is quite literally the ‘crowning jewel’ of the V&A, if you’ll pardon my horrific pun. (Really, that was both unnecessary and inexcusable.) This exhibit alone was worth the tube ride to South Kensington! It was incredible. The entire room was dark, except for the rows and rows of jewelry. I’ve never seen so many diamonds or oversized stones in my life. I’m talking pendants that were easily a foot long, with flowers and leaves all entirely made up of diamonds. An entire crown made of the most flawless, pure orange coral. Amethyst chunks the size of credit cards, set in solid diamond pavé. Tiaras, hair pins, rings, bracelets, pendants, all glittering. I almost had an aneurysm. Or a fainting spell. Whichever is classier.

Alas, the two exhibits I was most looking forward to just happened to be closed! Both the Photography exhibit (more than 500,000 photos!) and the Fashion exhibits were both closed for updating. Nonetheless, I had a quite a good time wandering around and staring, agog, at all the antiquities.

Here are some photos of all the wonderful things I did get to see!  (Please ignore my reflections in some of these shots, most everything was behind glass!)

St. Peter in full papal regalia, holding the keys to Heaven (Matthew). 1520

Bust of Lady Catherine Stepney, who wanted her likeness made as Cleopatra, 1836.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian jewelry during the reign of the British Empire

I am planning a quick getaway to Paris for a few days this week since I don’t start class until October 3rd. My friend Drew has given me some tips on where to stay and what to say! I’m a little worried since I don’t speak any French whatsoever. I know the French just love clueless American tourists!! Maybe we can come to some sort of diplomatic agreement and just speak Spanish?

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