In continuation with the museum themed day trips I’d been having, I decided to check out the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, which is apparently the world’s largest museum of applied & decorative arts! The museum is actually connected to the underground station, making it really accessible, and as all national museums here are, is completely free.
The museum is split into 4 rough sections- 1. Asia, 2. Furniture, Textiles & Fashion, 3. Sculptures, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass and 4. World & Image. I started from the lowest floor and worked my way up from there.
The furniture, paintings and sculptures on the lowest floor were some of the most beautiful, with intricate designs and amazing craftsmanship.
I then went one level up to the main entrance which was already teeming with people. The museums here are all popular attractions, and I’ve found that trying to escape the crowds is rather futile. Just accept it and enjoy yourself!
The sculptures on this level were some of my favourites, and I thought this room in particular was really cool. There were art students everywhere practicing their sketching!
Next I moved on to the Asia section. The collection is quite extensive and covers (surprisingly) quite a few countries, including a little bit of South East Asia! But of course, their largest collections come from Japan, China, India and the Islamic world.
I then moved on to some of the museum’s most famous attractions- the Raphael cartoons. These are the cartoons that were used to make the Vatican tapestries, that famously hang in the Sistine Chapel on special occasions.
For some reason, this room seemed to have less people, possibly because it was tucked into the corner of the museum. If you intend to visit, do not miss this room! My photos do not do the beautiful paintings justice.
I moved quickly past the textiles sections to view more sculptures lined across a long hallway. The sheer volume of their collections is rather astounding.
For lunch I headed outside, towards some tables, which gave me a chance to view to exterior.
I then explored the paintings, prints and drawings sections, where there were original pieces by Beatrix Potter!
After taking a look at the ceramics and glass sections, I returned to a part of the museum that I initially saw, but decided to leave to the last- the cast courts. This is truly the most jaw dropping area of the museum, as you are bombarded by some of the most famous sculptures in the world- but they aren’t original.
Yup, the cast court entirely features replicas, which is unusual to say the least. To be honest, I have really mixed feelings on these rooms- on one hand, suddenly seeing a life size replica of Michelangelo’s David, amongst other famous sculptures was awesome and very surprising, but on the other hand it felt a bit cheap. It’s as amazing as it is disappointing, and it just makes me want to actually see the original. Hopefully one day!
Nevertheless, the sculptures were really cool (I mean of course, considering they’re replicas of the best sculptures in the world). I’m curious how others feel about the replicas, so feel free to comment below and let me know your thoughts. Overall, the V&A museum is worth the visit, but I would definitely recommend skimming through or skipping sections you aren’t interested in, simply because the collection is that large.