Saturday, May 28, 2011

London Day Two

Day two in London was a hearty mix of museums and shopping. I started out walking through Hyde Park and stopping at the Serpentine Gallery, although I must say I wasn't terribly impressed by the Mark Leckey show on exhibit there (I wasn't the only one - this unfavorable review in The Guardian apparently sparked something of an art world pissing contest.) I wandered through the park, stopping by the Albert Memorial with its awesome imperial sculptures, then on to Exhibition Road.

Next stop was the Natural History Museum.

My love for natural history museums generally tends to depend on a massive, turn-of-the-century, chock-ful hall of mammals, with worn taxidermied creatures and ancient display cases. The Natural History Museum in London has a bit of that feel but actually is more modern. Good for learning, bad for my apparent British pre-war imperialism obsession.

However, I did love the dinosaur exhibition, complete with dramatic lighting.

Although the V&A is right across the street, I knew it was open late on Fridays so planning on making it the end of my day. Instead I hopped on the tube to go to Sloane Square to see the Saatchi Gallery.

Sadly, it was closed for a private function. However, all was not lost, as Sloane Square/King Street had plenty of window shopping to keep me entertained for a while!

To continue my window (and real) shopping, I went over to Regent's Street, to the mecca of all upscale shops, the beacon of floral-print-lovers everywhere, that monument to the Arts and Crafts movement, Liberty. I think I want to move in.

Almost very nearly bought one of these lovely printed tops. Can't quite swing the ninety pounds, though, so I picked up a reasonable facsimile at Gap yesterday.

I of course had to head to the first European Anthro - I kind of liked the old church architecture of the King St. one more, but this one was huge and very impressive. Good sale section, too, although I couldn't find anything that fit just right.

Popped into the National Geographic store, which reminded me of when I plastered my bedroom walls with maps taken from old copies of NG when I was about eleven.

Loved this super-cute tea shop! I picked up some lovely little things there.

Then on to the V&A for the evening!

I adored the Arts and Crafts dining areas. And those globe chandeliers - WANT.

The V&A had on a special exhibition of the aesthetic movement - very heavy on the PRB, Wilde, Morris, and Beardsley. In fact, they had a few original Beardsley prints, which were wonderful, and two of his original drawings. This one, Siegfried, Act II, completely mesmerized me. It was right at the end of the exhibit, and I just kept going back to stare at it, getting ready to leave, and needing to look one more time. I nearly bought the giclee print but realized I had no way of getting it back with me undamaged, since it was in a huge tube. this is a terrible reproduction, but believe me, the delicate linework and detail is stunning in person. Beardsley himself considered it one of his best pieces within his early work.

Next up, Day Three: Abortions, a religious experience, and a good luck bridge.

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