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July 22, 2014

Climb in and fasten your seat belt.  We're flying over to London and
taking a quick tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Road trip!

Often called the V&A, the Victoria and Albert Museum holds the world's largest collection of decorative arts.  Founded in 1852 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the V&A covers over 12 acres, consists of 145 galleries, and houses over 4.5 million objects spanning 5,000 years of art.  That's a lot of stuff.

There is a category for every type of collectible from around the world:  jewelry, clothing, painting, porcelain, glass, toys, furnishings - the list seems endless.  There's even an extensive collection of  antique and historic cloth fragments with pieces dating back several thousand years.

The red silk remnant, right, was found near the Limes Watchtower in China and dates back to 200 BC.

Though unappetizing today, porcelain animal head
soup tureens were popular in the mid-18th Century.
This boar's head was imported from China by the
Dutch East India Company between 1760-1770. 

Silversmith Sir Edward Thomason is credited with manufacturing
these bottle tickets, the precursor to the decanter labels.  ca 1830-1831

 Lady's shoe, ca 1720, left; lady's boot, ca 1850, right

Man's boot, ca 1845, left;  woman's boot, ca 1865, right

Little boy's leather shoes, ca 1850

This 16th century German-made brooch was
donated to the museum by Dame Joan Evans.

It's hard to imagine that tea was a luxury that only the wealthy could afford.  This tea caddy was made in Guangzhou, China, and imported to England in 1790.

A teapoy was actually an occasional table used for storing tea.  Carved from mahogany, this teapoy was made between 1825 - 1830.

The perforated neck of this vase identifies it as a scent jar.  Usually placed on a mantle, the vessel was filled with potpourri and it served as an air freshener. ca 1826

Child's christening cap, jacket and collar, Belgium lace, ca 1650

Designed to resemble a six-sided Gothic tower, this pierced silver verge head was made in Valencia, Spain, in the mid-16th Century.  Attached to the top of a rod, it was carried by a verger, a church official, during high ceremonies.

Found in the ruins of the Kirkstall Abbey, Yorkshire, by John Dixon in 1829, this fragment of an ivory chess piece has been dated to 1140 AD.

Lady Clementina Hawarden, South Kensington, 1862

The 17th-century hand-embroidered woman's waistcoat was worn in the portrait of Margaret Layton, ca 1610.  In the painting, Margaret Layton wears the waistcoat with an Italian needle lace collar and cuffs over a black velvet gown.

Egyptian made 19th Century silver filigree earrings

These late 19th Century learning blocks were manufactured in the United States by the J.A. Crandall Company.

A rare lot of German-made doll clothes
and a pair of wood dolls, ca 1830

I don't know about you but today's brief glimpse of a few of the treasures housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum leaves me wanting to see more.  Imagine the luxury of living in London and having the opportunity to browse through the amazing collections at your leisure.  The V&A just got penciled in on my bucket list.


  1. It really is an amazing place to visit. I have been fortunate enough to visit several times when my daughters lived in London, I don't get the chance as often now they have moved out of the city. A must do if ever you get the chance.

    1. Lucky you - I am sooooooooo envious! How wonderful it must be to roam the halls of the V&A and have the opportunity to see such treasures in person. I'm fascinated just by viewing their website, can hardly imagine the real thing.

  2. I love visiting these museums. We learn so much by studying the past. How I would love a collection of the "bottle tickets". They are lovely. It has been a long time since I had the chance to visit London.

    1. Museums fascinate me - in a previous life I must have been an archivist. Working at the V&A would be a dream job.

  3. Oh my gosh...what a neat place. I almost thought you actually went there with husband and like, how could you just go to one place and not take in all the sights of London. Then I realized this was a road trip via the internet. Wow, you got me excited that you were taking a trip!!!

    But yeah....there sure is a lot of history in one place.

    1. I wish I could hop a plane and fly over. My first stop would be Wigtown, Scotland, though. Apparently that's where my people are from and I'd love to look up long-lost relatives. But I'm definitely going to make plans to visit London and, especially, the V&A.

  4. A fascinating look back into the past. That is some big museum.


    1. Can you imagine?! 145 galleries - wow. I'd never get tired of browsing and drooling!!!

  5. I loved the V &A museum.
    It is a wonderful place and it is a place you should diffidently visit ! It is YOU !
    One time I was there they had a most wonderful photo exhibit.

    cheers, parsnip