Victoria and Albert Museum

The world’s greatest museum of art and design

Opening times

10.00 to 17.45 daily
10.00 to 22.00 Fridays


Mermaids, Mermen and other fantastical creatures of the sea have featured heavily in our folklore for centuries. The first stories of mermaids appeared in Assyria in about 1000 BC. One of these earliest legends describes how the goddess Atargatis, mother of the Assyrian queen Semiramis, unintentionally killed the mortal shepherd whom she loved. Distraught, she jumped into a lake to take the form...