Tuesday, 13 December 2011

To the V&A, (and other curiosities)!

This weekend we headed up the motorway towards that sprawling metropolis that is our beloved capital. London for us is 'home', the place we both hark from and therefore, as the old song goes '...maybe it's because I'm a Londoner, that I love London so...' Well, something like that anyway. We don't usually do the 'tourist thing'. it all seems a bit weird when it's your home, but sometimes it's good to reconnect with some of its pleasures.     

So off we went. Mostly to catch up with family that we won't have a chance to see over the Christmas holiday but also, to head towards the galleries I love to visit. First up was the V & A, with it's fantastically over-the-top Victorian facade and equally quirky collections. Here we found the Beatrix Potter illustrations, and just in good time as the exhibition was due to close on the 11th. If you missed it, here's a link, Beatrix Potter, Botanical Illustrations at the V&A.

The Silver Gallery, The V&A, London
I just love the ceiling in here and amazingly
it was completely empty!

Potter's skill as an artist was beautifully demonstrated in the pieces on display. From Foxgloves to Blackberries, the illustrations are accurately drawn then delicately shaded in watercolour. Often in her work, Beatrix Potter would leave a clear, dark outline, perhaps the beginnings of the style she would use to great effect later, in her illustrations for her beautiful Peter Rabbit books

Taking photos in a museum is a dodgy business and although I did take a sneaky one or two, (confession time!) they didn't come out very well. So a word to the wise, don't bother trying as the display glass is so well polished the reflections are dreadful, and no amount of Photoshop will get that out.  There's not much point anyway as many galleries and museums share so much of their precious collections online, and the images are brilliant. Here are a few of my favourites care of the V &A online album. Then, you can enjoy your day out without constantly getting your phone out.

Oak with Acorns. Beatrix Potter, 1905
F.Warne and Co 2010

Foxglove. Beatrix Potter, 1903.
F.Warne and Co 2010
Note the gorgeous little pencil sketch of a bird 

Sea Lavender. Beatrix Potter, 1899
F.Warne and Co 2010.
Autumn Berries, including Hawthorn. Beatrix Potter, 1905
F.Warne and Co 2010 
Blackberry & Blackcurrant. Beatrix Potter
F.Warne & Co 2010

A pub lunch came and went over a few drinks and then back on the tube to Leicester Square to see the Swiss Clock. Why a clock? Well like so many things that come and go with progress, the original Swiss Clock was removed from the famous Swiss Centre when the area was developed. Now it's back!! Hurrah. There was an opening ceremony and when it chimes, it all goes on, (and the music changes)! Need I say more, just watch this BBC clip and enjoy this little curiosity, Landmark Swiss Clock returns to Leicester Square .

Our whistle stop tour continued to Tate Britain, which is a must if you love J.M.W.Turner and his amazing skies. There was some great British art on display here, and their hot chocolate isn't bad either. All in all a fabulous weekend was had by all! Next time it'll be some of the backstreets of Whitechapel, and its heralded Bell Foundry before it closes its doors.   


Jessica Rosemary Shepherd said...

Ta-da! Fab - you managed to get to the V&A. Thanks for sharing this... I love her sea lavender... beautiful. quite a talent.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

I did indeed!Thanks for the tip Jess. Couldn't resist putting these ones out. Loved every minute of our weekend, even though it was blisteringly cold.

MILLY said...

I enjoyed this post so much. As I live not far from Beatrix Potter land I see shops full of her wares, images and of course Hilltop. I realise I am lucky. I have the Armitt museum and other places where you can see her originals in different exhibitions.
Thank you for sharing as I had not seen some of these sketches. One day I will get to the V&A.
Glad you enjoyed a great weekend.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Milly, I am glad you enjoyed seeing some of Beatrix Potter's sketches. use the link to see some more from the exhibition.

Rebecca said...

I wanted to get to the V and A so badly when hubby and I were in London earlier this year. Unfortunately, we ran out of time but did get to visit the Tate. I had to see the Pre-Raphelite works there and the Turner collection is amazing! Can't wait to get back to visit the UK again.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Oh that's a shame Rebecca but I am glad that you enjoyed your visit to the Tate.

Hedera said...

Lovely post!! The Beatrix Potter botanical illustrations are a delight - all new to me. :)