Friday 17 January 2014

Pearls at the V&A, and The Wallace Collection

For my third Nice Day Out of 2014 I went to London again - this time on a Sunday so I could catch an earlier (and delightfully quiet) train and really make the most of the day. I had planned to catch the Tube to South Kensington but when I got to Paddington it was lovely and sunny so I decided to walk.

It was a bit chilly (you can see the frost in the photos), but totally worth it - it turns out that a stroll through Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park is a great way to start the day! I started at the Italian Gardens (which I visited back in August)... 


... then walked through Hyde Park, past the Henry Moore arch (which frames a view of Kensington Palace)...

... until I reached the recently-opened Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Since it was just before 10am (when the gallery opens for the day) I took a short stroll by the Serpentine, which was looking pretty gorgeous in the sunshine.


Just after 10 it was time to take a peek at the gallery's current exhibition - Jake & Dinos Chapman: Come and See (caution if you're clicking on that link: the Chapman brothers' work is very dark and grisly!) I'm not sure I was in the best mood for this, all chilled out after my stroll through nature, but never mind.


Then I walked over the bridge...


...  wandered past the Serpentine Gallery to revisit Rock on Top of Another Rock, then walked down Exhibition Road to the V&A.


I went to the Pearls exhibition which I'd meant to see back in December and which is about to close. I'm glad I managed to it as it's a lovely exhibition, with lots of beautiful bits of jewellery to oooh over and lots of interesting stuff about the history of pearls as jewellery and their different meanings and fashions through the years.

Still in the mood to ooh over sparkly things, I popped to the V&A's jewellery gallery before I left. So very many lovely shiny things!

After the V&A I hopped on the Tube to Embankment & went to the Mall Galleries (via a coffee shop for a spot of lunch).


I picked up a "what's on" leaflet at the Mall Galleries in December and have a whole bunch of exhibitions earmarked for future visits as they a) look great and b) are free for me to see thanks to the magic of my Art Pass. This time round I saw the Society of Designer Craftsman exhibition (gorgeous textiles, glass, ceramics, furniture, altered books, all sorts of great stuff) and the Artists & Illustrators Annual Exhibition (also very nice).

After that I needed to go to Oxford Street to return something I bought before Christmas and - even though it was now decidedly un-sunny - I walked again instead of taking the Tube.


It was especially interesting walking up Regent Street - I'd never walked along the whole street before and hadn't seen how it curves fabulously at the bottom!

Finally, I went to Manchester Square...


... to the Wallace Collection, which is somewhere I can't believe I've never been before as it's so close to Oxford Street and free to get in!


Visiting the Wallace Collection is a cross between visiting a fancy historic house (with lots of amazing wallpaper, chandeliers, furniture and a ton of bronze-gilt bling on mirrors, candlesticks, clocks, etc) and visiting an art gallery or museum, as it houses the collection of the former owners.

The house itself is well worth seeing and there's also lots of great art (including a bunch of famous and fabulous paintings) and interesting objects (including several rooms of arms and armour). I think I probably spent half my visit with my mouth open, gawping at it all, and I'm already planning to come back for another visit when the Great Gallery re-opens this autumn. Fancy a peek at the house and artworks? You can take an online tour here.

After all that it was definitely time to head home and put my feet up!


katie marcu said...

Gosh you make me feel for not exploring my own city more! I haven't been to the Wallace Collection either, it's definitely on my list. Great photo of Regent Street!

(Did you email me yet? Just checking as I didn't get one and didn't want you to think I'm not replying!)

Kristy said...

I completely agree with your first commenter, I really need to explore my city more. I haven't visited our museums in ages and often feel like I need to go with someone to do it; but that's just another excuse Not to go.

Lovely photos you have taken. I've only ever visited the UK once and it was ages ago...and for work; but I enjoyed seeing parts of history along the way.

One day, I'll make it back there.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Katie - I look back at the places I've lived and the cool things that were right on my doorstep and now think "why did you not go to these things while you lived there???" but it's just sooo easy to not get round to it. I am determined to try and make the most of living round here before I move away.

Will email you this weekend, I promise :)

Kristy - I've felt like that in the past, too! The amount of stuff I've not gone to over the years because no-one else wanted to go is just ridiculous. It has been a bit of a revelation to me that these days out on my own can be so enjoyable.

I hope you'll manage to make it back here for a visit, we have a lot of awesome old stuff to see :D

bairozan said...

What can I say - I haven't visited all the museums in my city either :) Luckily, we take visiting friends and family there. Lovely pictures - take me back to the early years of learning English with pictures from London in the textbooks. We so wanted to go there :)

Bugs and Fishes said...

Ah, it's good to know I'm not alone in this!

I don't remember the pictures in our French and German textbooks being very exciting :)