Thursday, 9 April 2009

Proof That The Victorians Were Crazy

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.

Trajan's Column in the Cast Courts, V&A
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.

Cast Courts, V&A
One half of the casts display is closed for maintainance at the moment, but it's still visible from the gallery above.

Cast Courts maintainance, V&A
In particular, note the cast of Michelangelo's David:

'David' in the Cast Courts at the V&A
In other news, I really, really want this chainmail bolero jacket (from a different gallery in the V&A):

Chain-mail top
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...


Heather said...

Very cool. Thanks for linking to the website. I'll have to check it out for my daily history lesson. :) Would love to see these things first hand.

Chef E said...

You are too fun girl! This is so up my history lovin alley! Yeah sneak into some really good museums and take a photo of that giant diamond I hear about, went blank on the name...some of the queens stuff, lol

Louiz said...

My daughter doesn't like the V&A because none of the galleries are well lit (to protect the items on display, I assume) so I don't get to go there as much as I'd like. Sounds like you're having a good time.

Kazzy said...

I loved the V and A. I love that whole Kensington part of London.

Chef E said...

Hey this is off the subject, but Rachel can you send me your email address so I can add you to my TMI blog, I have problems with a certain 'hound' blog that leaves mean comments, and am making it personal from now on...

Jeanne said...

I saw the Elgin Marbles when I was in London circa 1996, but I didn't get to the Victoria and Albert. This is cool -- love the bolero!

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