Exploring Museums

Cambridge
www.kettlesyard.co.uk
www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

I am satisfying a longstanding ambition to see museums in and near London that I visited long ago and also to visit some I have never seen. In Cambridge I finally saw the Fitzwilliam Museum and at Kettle’s Yard the beautiful Brancusi head that sits on a grand piano. When I was at Art College in Glasgow the study of history of architecture was a compulsory part of the course and we compiled many sketchbooks of architecture drawings. I remember particularly painting a representation of the fan vaulting in the chapel at King’s College, so it was breathtaking to stand in the nave and realise the scale of the building and see the delicacy of the vaulting.

The Victoria and Albert Museum Object Store
I was extremely lucky to be shown round the V&A’s store of objects undergoing restoration and cataloguing. I saw the most extraordinary things from black and white scraffito enamel plaques to medieval tapestry, lace, paintings and furniture.

The Horniman Museum
www.horniman.ac.uk

This museum took me completely by surprise in many ways. It is a fascinating timepiece of a building built in 1901 by the architect Charles Harrison Townsend for Frederick Horniman a tea trader with a passion for collecting. Townsend designed the Whitechapel Art Gallery built in 1899 also in the Arts and Crafts style.
The collection is an odd one covering a diverse area, from the very popular aquarium in the basement to a wonderful ethnographic collection of musical instruments and many other fascinating things. The museum is set in lovely gardens with a surprising view of London.

The Wallace Collection
www.wallacecollection.org

This elegant miniature 18C French chateau holds a fascinating collection of paintings, furniture, porcelain and armour. I was so absorbed by looking at particular paintings I need to return soon to see the other wonders.

The Science Museum
www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

I dipped in here to connect with the contemporary world and am looking forward to attending a talk about the switching on of the world’s biggest particle smasher, the Large Hadron Collider. This colossal experiment aims to reveal the universe’s biggest mysteries.

I would like to learn about your favourite museums! Please add your comments.

Exploring Museums

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