Yesterday I spent a couple of hours exploring the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection. There was too much to take in in those two hours but I saw some beautiful pieces.
The highlight for me was the huge exhibition of glass. I was amazed by the innovation and creativity in the contemporary pieces. Some made expert use of the fluidity of the medium while others did things I didn’t even know were possible with glass.
I also found some interesting ceramic pieces in the Chinese and Medieval sections. There were two Chinese wine carriers which I photographed as inspiration for shapes and designs on my own pots. The two medieval drinking cups really caught my imagination as, upon reading the descriptions, I discovered that they were both designed for use in drinking games. The inverted jug with the head meant that the drinker could not place down the cup until the contents was drained. The ornate windmill glass has a whistle which when blown moves the sails and hands around a clock. The drinker must drink while these are spinning and if they fail to do must continue to drink as many additional glasses as the number indicated by the hands on the clock.
I was pleased to find the photography collection which features original prints from EJ Bellocq, August Sander and Sally Mann amongst many other esteemed names. This was exciting as I’ve previously only seen these works online or in books. There was also an exhibition by Richard Learoyd, “Dark Mirror”, which featured huge (5’x4′?) prints made in a room-size camera obscura. The detail and colours were so rich and the prints had an extraordinary depth and sense of stillness. I particularly loved this on, “Kitty With Mirror”, as the woman’s hand appears to be sinking into the surface of the mirror, granting the piece a fantastical dream-like quality.