I like the Glass Galleries at the V&A. They’re always quiet, even on weekends when the most popular rooms are full to bursting.
It’s probably because they’re all the way up on the 4th floor, a long walk via this marble staircase which totally makes me think of Stilton.
The glass exhibits are jammed together in the old-fashioned ‘pile em high’ style of curation, also used in local history museums (and charity shops). Some of the objects are rather astoundingly tacky, which is always fun to see.
I get the feeling that the staff at the V&A have forgotten about this gallery, as well as most of the visitors. Check out Exhibit A below:
That date at the bottom? Oh, that’s just the 18th Nov, 2011. This case has been ‘in course of arrangement’ for about 6 years. Nothing major.
It’s not just one display case either. Whoever RL, HY and JC are, they clearly had one hell of a long lunch.
Yellow slips are scattered around the gallery with careless abandon. Many gaudy Victorian beetroot dishes (or whatever – frankly I have no idea) are ‘yet to be labelled’. Have any senior V&A staff ventured up here in the last 5 years? Where are RL, HY, and JC now? It’s a mystery.
They did get around to labelling this small object before they left.
It looks pretty ordinary and small from a distance, even though it’s on a pedestal. It’s actually an Egyptian perfume flagon, and has managed to stay intact for 4,000 years, which is quite mind-boggling.
The other reason people visit these galleries is for the members room, which is hidden behind a mirror at the end. They’ve put a sign on it now and spoiled all the fun of opening an invisible doorway, but it’s a nice space inside for tea and a biscuit. Strictly for members only though (actually they never check, but don’t tell the V&A I told you).
Worth a look next time you’re in South Kensington.