A visit to the V & A

Last Sunday Kim and I took the train into the city and paid a visit to the Victoria and Albert museum. Known locally as the V & A, the museum is dedicated to a number of different arts. The sources for the collection span the globe, including Chinese and Islamic works, but we went to see an exhibit called The Victorian Vision: Inventing New Britain, which was about the advances in art and technology during Queen Victoria’s reign. I was hoping to see more about the gadgets in use back then, but the exhibit mainly covered the artworks that reflected the advancing times. Easily the weirdest part of the exhibit was a diorama of a wedding constructed using stuffed kittens dressed like people. There were a few other examples of taxidermy on display, but the wedding was easily the most unusual and creepy.

After we left the special exhibit we wandered the rest of the museum and came across a collection of life-size plaster replicas of famous works of sculpture from around Europe. One was of a tower from a square in Rome. Even though the ceiling in the museum was almost 100 feet high, the replica was easily twice that and stood in the room in two pieces. It’s base measured 15 feet square. Another large replica was a church fa├žade that covered an entire wall of the large exhibit room. Apparently this sort of thing was a big deal back in the day, but now it just looks like an unpainted back lot at a film studio.

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