London calling

I’m just back from a wonderful weekend in London. I managed to pack in a lot, but my primary reason for going was to visit Handmade in Britain and I’ll post more about that later. The other main highlight was a lengthy afternoon spent wandering around the ceramics collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum. I can’t think how long it is since I last visited and I had forgotten just how much there is to see…

As you enter the main hall of the museum and look directly upwards you can just catch a glimpse of Edmund de Vaal’s Signs and Wonders in the topmost dome of the building. After taking the lift to the sixth floor and walking through some of the furniture collection you enter the ceramics section. The number of pieces on display is breathtaking. It is divided into a series of galleries – firstly four large rooms with glass cases packed from floor to ceiling with pieces from China, Asia & Europe, Britain and Britain & Europe. These are followed by the following rooms: Factory Ceramics after 1900, Contemporary Ceramics (where you can get a closer view of Signs and Wonders), Studio Ceramics, Making Ceramics, Architectural Ceramics, World Ceramics and a display gallery.

I could go on for hours about the things I saw. Photography was quite difficult. I took most of my photographs on my rather inadequate camera phone as this seemed to produce the ‘best’ results given the subdued lighting. I decided that a series of details would be the best way to get across the amazing variety on show. Wherever possible I have included the maker’s surname, or country of origin, at the beginning of the image file name but there are a few pieces that I found very difficult to identify.

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7 thoughts on “London calling

    • Oh Joel, that’s such a difficult question to answer. There were so many things that I could draw inspiration from… The celadon detail from the fifth row, left is pretty amazing – it’s from the Nanyang shipwreck, made in 14th-15th century, from Si Satchanalai, Thailand. Incredible that something could still look so beautiful after having been underwater all that time. Then there’s the lidded jar on the fourth row, right; which is from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) which not only mind bogglingly old but also could be seen as incredibly contemporary. You could loose yourself at the V&A for days… Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie, Walter Keeler, Hans Coper, Grayson Perry… the list is endless. The range of techniques on display is astonishing too.

  1. Yep! I could get lost for days in the V&A. Love it. Beautiful array of photographs, perfectly curated as usual. The weather was very miserable on Saturday, hope it didn’t collide with you too much. The beautiful crispness on Sunday made up for it, though.

    • Thank you Alison. Hope you’re well. You’re right, the weather on Friday and Saturday was pretty grim but it didn’t matter… I was inside most of the time and although my plan of walking across the city through the parks was thwarted I did end up having a lovely bus ride instead, looking at all the sparkly lights.

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