So, I did get to see Opus Angelicum this weekend. It was amazing. I am absolutely amazed people were able to create such things by hand in crap candle light. No pictures were allowed in the exhibit, but with my phone and ridiculously low lighting, they would’ve just been a dark shadowy mess.
Today, the haute couture fashion houses today are the only ones who use such techniques on a regular basis. And after seeing all the embroidered copes in the exhibit, if you go upstairs to the 4th floor, there is an embroidered cope from the 1800s in the British rooms which looks so basic and pedestrian compared to those in the 1400s!
Here are a few pictures to tide you over from the Cast Courts (all the plaster casts made in the 1800s of other famous works of art) and the British rooms upstairs. There is some video on my Instagram stories of the Cast Courts too (@cindipatter).
The other exhibit I saw since I got in free (woot!) was Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear. Surprisingly, it was more popular than the embroidery, but what do I know? I wouldn’t have necessarily gone to see this if I didn’t have a membership, but it was interesting nonetheless. Also, corsets look painful despite making your clothes look amazing.
Corset, cotton, whalebone, about 1890. (From the signage in the exhibit, this gave the wearer a 47cm waist!) Photo courtesy and (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
The other (tiny) perk of being a museum member – free coat check! I was totally prepared to pay (it was only £1 per item) but hey, save £2 and didn’t have to carry around my heavy coat and shopping bag while there! About half way through my time there, I realised how cold it was in the museum and contemplated retrieving my coat anyway.
And finally, rather than having my tea and lunch in the main dining area (which has great cakes, scones, sandwiches, and hot food at reasonable prices), I had mine in the Member’s Room. The Member’s Room is tucked away in a corner of the 4th floor and almost hidden, but is a nice quiet space when the museum is busy. The food choices are a bit more limited too, but still a varied selection of cakes and scones for your tea and coffee.