“Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together”

The exterior of the Victoria & Albert Museum
The exterior of the Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the largest museum of art and design in the world.

Just one of the rooms in the Ceramics department - there were several just like this, crammed with every conceivable type of ceramic item.
Just one of the rooms in the Ceramics department – there were several just like this, crammed with every conceivable type of ceramic item.

Established in 1852, the 12.5-acre museum is divided into four main collections: 1. Asia; 2. Furniture, Textiles and Fashion; 3. Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass; and 4. Word & Image. They have everything from 11th century altar pieces to Dior dresses and everything in between. The museum is named for Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, though they didn’t own the artifacts. Queen Victoria laid the cornerstone for the current building, so the museum trustees named it after the couple. Victoria wanted it to be the Albert Museum.

Some of my favorite rooms were the Cast Courts (separate post coming soon), the Ceramics department, the Wrought Iron Gallery, and this old spiral staircase from a house in Brittany. The sheer number of pieces they have in each section was just overwhelming. Here are just a sample of the items I saw on my visit there one blustery afternoon.

Title quote: John Ruskin, The Two Paths

Part of the collection in the Glass Rooms
Part of the collection in the Glass Rooms
"Zemire" evening ensemble by Christian Dior, autumn/winter 1954
“Zemire” evening ensemble by Christian Dior, autumn/winter 1954
This is just part of the Wrought Iron Gallery.
This is just part of the Wrought Iron Gallery.
One of the galleries off the main entrance
One of the galleries off the main entrance
These macabre little cherubs are funerary decorations - each one is holding symbols of death. They're dark, real dark.
These macabre little cherubs are funerary decorations – each one is holding symbols of death. They’re dark, real dark.
This is the parlour from 11 Henrietta Street, London, circa 1727-32
This is the parlour from 11 Henrietta Street, London, circa 1727-32
This piece is from the Tomb of Buyanquli Khan, a Muslim descendent of Genghis Khan. The technique on this tile dates it to 1350-1400.
This piece is from the Tomb of Buyanquli Khan, a Muslim descendent of Genghis Khan. The technique on this tile dates it to 1350-1400.
Spring Poppy Fields No 31 by Zhang Huan, from 2014
Spring Poppy Fields No 31 by Zhang Huan, from 2014
Organza Origami Dress by Lie Sang-Bong circa 2009 in the Korea section.
Organza Origami Dress by Lie Sang-Bong circa 2009 in the Korea section.
Chihuli piece that graces the entry-way atrium
Chihuli piece that graces the entry-way atrium
Bust of Oliver Cromwell by Joseph Wilton 1762
Bust of Oliver Cromwell by Joseph Wilton 1762
Thuner by John Michael Rysbrack 1728-30. Thuner is the Saxon god of Thunder. The piece was created for Lord Cobham's garden.
Thuner by John Michael Rysbrack 1728-30. Thuner is the Saxon god of Thunder. The piece was created for Lord Cobham’s garden.
Sunna by John Michael Rysbrack 1728-30. Sunna is a Saxon god. The piece was created for Lord Cobham's garden.
Sunna by John Michael Rysbrack 1728-30. Sunna is a Saxon god. The piece was created for Lord Cobham’s garden.
The Raphael room
The Raphael room
Court mantua 1755-60
Court mantua 1755-60
A collection of clothes from the 1960s during the Mod period.
A collection of clothes from the 1960s during the Mod period.
This four-story staircase is from a home in the Netherlands - there are wooden balconies attached at each of the levels.
This four-story staircase is from a home in the Netherlands – there are wooden balconies attached at each of the levels.

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