Although technology is certainly a marvellous thing, you’ve got to hand it to the cultural philanthropists of the 19th century who established galleries and museums so the wider public could gain access to antiquities, artworks and knowledge only before available to the rich and learned class of people.
London is a playground for culture vultures with an almost limitless supply of things to see and do. It seems a criminal act to visit London and not squeeze in a visit, however short, to one of the cultural attractions. The hardest thing is picking which one.
My sister-in-law and I escaped for a trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum, known to its friends as the V & A. This is one of my favourite places to visit, full of arts, crafts and fashions in one of the most beautiful buildings in London. It also has the advantage of a wonderful Gothic cafeteria which gives a spot of lunch of a quick coffee a higher level of cache.
For a long time, my dream job was to be a wedding dress designer so naturally I wanted to visit the special exhibition at the V & A this trip. It was incredible to see how wedding attire has changed over the centuries but more alarmingly how the size of dresses and shoes has changed. I’m not sure I would have been that comfortable trussed up in a corset to make the minuscule waistlines of the 1800s although as wedding fashions go the extravagances people go to for their special wedding dress are eye-opening.
As a photographer you can learn so much about taking portraits by studying the painted portraits, so if I’d had more time I would have taken a spin around the competition entries for the Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery. There are always so many intriguing representations of people to enjoy, including the winners of this years prize.
The best thing about London’s public galleries and museums is that they are all free to the public. Although you will pay for special exhibitions there is so much in permanent collections that you could spend a month in London and never have to pay to enjoy the millions of artifacts and art works on show.