Thursday, 9 April 2009
One of my favourite galleries in London is the 'Cast Courts' at the Victoria & Albert museum. Somehow - despite having lived in London for about a year - my husband had failed to find it, so I was determined to take him along while we were visiting.
The gallery is full of plaster casts made by crazy Victorians who - once they'd realized that stealing other people's heritage was either morally dubious or else terribly expensive - decided that a plausible alternative was to take massive plaster casts and put them in a museum. Yes, that first picture really is a cast of Trajan's Column - which had to be chopped in half to fit in the gallery, despite the huge size of these rooms.
One half of the casts display is closed for maintainance at the moment, but it's still visible from the gallery above.
In particular, note the cast of Michelangelo's David:
In other news, I really, really want this chainmail bolero jacket (from a different gallery in the V&A):
P.S. This is not supposed to be any kind of history lesson - if you want to know more about the actual historical circumstances of the casts collection, please visit the V&A's own website.
P.P.S. Some other time I'll go to the British Museum and get photos of the Elgin Marbles for you. Until I was a teenager I really thought they were marbles, such as you might roll along the floor, and I wondered why everyone was making such a big deal out of it...