Strolling Through the V&A

VAFiligree

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is the interior designer’s museum. Every time I visit I find some gems. These plates and dishes were made in Venice in the sixteenth century, through a process called filigree glass. White threads of glass are mixed within colorless glass to create the fine, weave-like patterns. They are not only strikingly beautiful, but remarkably contemporary in look and feel. It’s rare to find pieces of such age that would not be out of place in a home today. Of course, these priceless artifacts won’t be gracing an actual dining table any time soon.

 

VAGlass2

These glasses are more flamboyant but equally precious, made in Germany and Amsterdam in the seventeenth century. I love the colors and delicate, whimsical shapes. Sitting down to a sumptuous banquet the princes of the Renaissance would drink from these elegant works of art.

 

VAGlass3

There are brilliant artists working today using glass as a medium. This hand blown sculpture by Dale Chihuly is influenced by the shapes of ancient Persian bottles. It is provocatively abstract and inventive, boldly colorful, with a floral feel to its curving stem-like tentacles. Chihuly is a true heir to the Renaissance artists whose work is pictured above.

 

VALut2

Edward Luytens was one of England’s most prominent architects of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He worked in India towards the end of Britain’s period of colonial rule, and designed many of the major buildings that made up New Dehli in the 1920s. This bust was made in his Dehli office and features a hat based on an architectural detail of an Indian home. Luytens buildings were heavy, monolithic structures, quite humorless, so I was intrigued by the wit behind this self portrait. He kept it above a doorway in his London office for many years. It typifies the eccentric joys of strolling the halls of the V&A.

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