Saturday, March 6, 2010

V&A Museum-New Medieval and Renaissance Wing

Recently, I shared my visit to the Saatchi Gallery, a museum of contemporary art, and I'm sure you could read between the lines, that contemporary art is not my cup of tea. On the other hand, one of my favorite museums in London, that I return to over and over for its richness is the Victoria and Albert Museum. Only open for a few months now are the new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, which have been years in preparation.

I love learning and reading about this time in history. Have you read Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth and World Without End? I highly recommend both of these if you are interested in this time period.  One of the first things you see upon entering the new gallery is the enormous Choir screen from the Cathedral of St. John in 's-Hergotenbosch in the Netherlands. This church, built between 1220 and 1525, was the original location of this choir screen, which separated the public from the chancel where only the clergy were allowed.

One could easily spend the whole day in this gallery alone--the richness of the displays warrant the time if you have it. You would see this triptych, The Brixen Altarpiece dating from 1500, with Mary surrounded by St. Florian and St. John the Baptist, as well as....

these funky shoes, accented by gold lace, dating from around 1600 from Venice. 

Something for everyone, including stained glass from St. Chapelle in Paris and Troyes, France, a 13th century Syrian goblet with enameled and gilded decoration, and my favorite, a terra-cotta statue (circa 1465) known as the Virgin with Laughing Child. If you can't wait until your next London trip to see these treasures, take a virtual tour here. It's free, just like the museum, one of the perks of London!


  1. Wow! Gorgeous treasures. Thanks for reminding me of the V&A. Have a wonderful Saturday!

  2. Bonjour Debi,
    I share your 'enthusiasm' about modern art, and I agree the V&A is wonderful. I've heard about Ken Follett's books before, I'll have to make time to read them.
    Bon weekend

  3. Debi, I too love the V&A. In 2005 the first night we were in London on a cold, cold November evening after a very stirring and reverential(sp) evensong at Westminster Abbey we ambled over to the V&A and enjoy it immensely. THe girls designed their own textiles, we oohed and ahhed over the tea things, costumes but what struck us were the overpowering size and artistry of the sculptures. I would certainly like to see the medieval wing. THank you for the informative tour. And Yes, I have read Follet's book and think that they are filming it as a British miniseries for 2010, with Matthew MacFadyen as Prior Philip.

  4. Jenny,
    Thanks for the heads-up on the miniseries. I will have to investigate that. Wouldn't that be amazing?


  5. Hello Debi, I just checked and from what I could find it will air this summer on the STARZ network (which I am guessing is a US network?) but the cast is primarily English. Can't wait.

  6. absolutely gorgeous. i prefer that to the contemporary,

    we have had "the pillars of the earth" recommended many
    times. will have to read it.

    thank you,

  7. Jenny,
    I checked on the miniseries too, and discovered the same thing. I figured it would be on a British mini series, but instead it's on STARZ as you say, which is a premium channel in the US--of course, one that is not in our basic package. Wonder it it's worth waiting to see if it comes out on DVD? Hmmmm....