(I think this breakfast looks rather good, don't you?)
We were now on our fourth and final day in London. We got up early and shared a wonderfully companionable breakfast with Jo and Colin! They are such fun people. I wish that we lived closer, but then again . . . when you see people and do things often . . . they become everyday don't they? It's kind of nice that our times together are more special than every day.
We had set aside that last day to go to the Victoria & Albert Museum which was just a few blocks from our hotel. It was a museum I had always wanted to go to when we lived down South, but had never gotten to, so I was really excited about finally being able to see it.
The Victoria & Albert Museum is is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, it was founded in 1852, and has since grown to cover 12.5 acres and contains 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, in virtually every medium, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. There is no way that you could see everything that it houses in one day, but we did manage to see quite a few things that I really enjoyed. I am not so sure the men were as thrilled with what we looked at, but Jo and I had a really good time!
There are always several different specialized exhibitions going on at any given time. This time there was a Ball Gown Exhibit. It was quite expensive to go through though, so we just glimpsed what we could from the outside of it and got a nice bird's eye view from a balcony above. It looked like it would really have been quite interesting, at least to us girls, but I'm afraid the guy's eyes would have been glassed over in a very short time and it really wouldn't have been worth the price of entry.
We did make them suffer through the History of Fashion exhibit though, which took us through fashion from the 1600's, right on up to modern day.
I thought this gown from the Georgian era was gorgeous, the fabrics being intricately embroidered, and clearly having required hours and ours of work to create. But the most fascinating thing in this particular case for me was . . .
This fabulous doll. You know I have a fascination with dolls and this was a beautiful example. I have never ever lost my love for dolls and miniatures.
I also found these Georgian Fashions to be quite fascinating. It seems in comparison we women today have not much of a sense of style and clothing nowadays is very much more androgynous don't you think??? I would love to be able to dress like this, but I am afraid that is probably a very much romanticized notion as the practicalities of it would not in reality be very much fun at all. Nice to look at though and to study.
These very early Victorian fashions were lovely . . .think Jane Austin and of course Mr Darcy . . . looking at these I was very much reminded of that time period.
I thought this white wedding presentation to be quite beautiful. By 1840 when Prince Albert and Queen Victoria were married it was quite common for well to do Brides to be married in white silk or fine white muslin. Intricate Lace Veils too, were being worn, but being very expensive were more often than not pass down from mother to daughter and so on.
People were certainly very elegant dressers . . . especially if they were from moneyed families. I am sure it was quite different for those who didn't have a lot of wealth.
I really enjoyed the 1950's fashions as well, very "Mad Men" like. I can remember my mother dressing like this.
Quite, quite beautiful.
Of course these were the fashions of my teen years. We had a bit of a giggle looking at them and reminiscing on what we had thought were quite elegant and fashionable at the time!
There was everything from this . . . to
There were such antiquities to see as these curiously fascinating puppets . . .
Tibetan head-ware and curiosities . . .
A thoroughly fascinating display of wrought iron-work. I have always loved wrought iron and there were some incredibly beautiful examples to study.
But . . . my very favourite part was this . . .
Fabulous collection of biscuit and candy tins through the years. How wonderful they were . . .
Such incredible detail . . . I have always loved tins of any kind. Just look at that tiny camera and the boat, suitcases, buses . . .
Bird nests, and bird cages . . . Victoriana and carriages . . .
Each one more fascinating and interesting than the last . . .
A Water Mill, which would have become a child's toy once emptied . . .
Fabulously intricate little cottages and vignettes . . .
But my absolute favourite of all were these Lucie Attwell cottages . . .
Oh what I wouldn't have given as a little girl to be able to play with a money box like this . . .
One of my favourite Childhood stories . . . The House That Jack Built, again by Lucie Attwell . . .
But my absolute FAVOURITE was this one . . .
Again by Lucie Attwell . . . the Fairy Tree (just look at that lovely little castle next to it.)
Isn't this just the most precious money box you have ever seen???
Of course there were other fascinating and beautiful things . . . things such as this which was once in a cathedral . . . just look at all that gilt and filigree work. Just breathtaking . . .
Enormous sculptures and exhibits in various stages of readiness . . .
Crypts and Columns . . .
We were utterly amazed at every turn . . .
Magnificent artistry awaiting around every corner . . .
Beautiful, just beautiful. There was a fabulous jewelry display, of diamonds and jewels of every imaginable colour, style and size . . . we were not allowed to take photos of the jewelry, but it was also quite fascinating, especially the short film where we could watch a gold and diamond ring being created from raw gem to finished ring.
I thought one of the most fascinating exhibits was the miniature micro mosaics. Each piece grander than the other . . . beautiful, just beautiful. Looking for all the world as if they were wonderful oil paintings, but upon closer inspection with the help of magnifiers . . . each one having been created from millions of tiny stones . . . each one beautifully and perfectly placed to give the illusion of great masterpieces of art. Simply amazing and utterly astonishing . . . the handiwork so magnificent. Such talent and such patience!
THIS is one of the first things you see as you enter the museum . . . this fabulous chandelier which hangs from the ceiling in the front hall . . .
Amazing and beautiful from every single angle.
We spent about 4 hours in this museum and only touched on a very few things that were housed there. I am sincerely looking forward to and hoping for another opportunity to see more at another time. (fingers crossed and God willing!)
After that we went to hop onto the underground and take a trip over to the Pub which Jo and Colin's Daughter is the assistant manager of in the Sloane Square area. I was really looking forward to seeing beautiful Laura, and by that time we had all worked up a really huge appetite for Sunday Lunch.
Drat it . . . if both the Circle and the Central Lines were shut down for maintenance!! Soooo frustrating. We knew how to get there on the underground, but how to do it above ground. We were at a loss. Colin got out his trusty HTC phone and his navigation program. Jo got onto her mobile phone to Laura and between all of that we finally did manage to make our way there and managed to end our visit together with a beautiful Sunday Roast Lunch in a fabulous British Pub. I always hate to say goodbye to good friends, but it had to end sometime.
As did the weekend. We were soon back to our room, packing up all of our gear and then back onto the train the next day and on our way home. The weekend having flashed by in what seemed like a blink of an eye, but what a lovely weekend it was, from beginning to end.
And it didn't end there. We met a fabulous man on the train who works for the British Heart Foundation and he sent me a free cookbook to try out! (Todd says he lives in my shadow.)
I truly am living the most fascinating and wonderful life. I thank God every day for it, for the good and for the bad and for everything in between. Life is amazing and life is good.
I continuously marvel at all my life holds. I hope that you do too.
" I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse."
Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Coconut Lime Glazed Banana Muffins!