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London II

May 19, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

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Japanese swords in the V&A

Today was our first actual sight seeing, and we picked the Victoria and Albert Museum on Nick’s enthusiastic recommendation. The museum’s collection is vast and varied, including fashion, jewelry (“jewellery”), glass, and the domestic arts, as well as painting, prints and drawing, and sculpture. We had only touched on a small part of this before it was closing time.

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A busker playing English fiddle tunes, accompanied by a loop box.

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More from the Japanese collection. A sword guard…

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…and a print illustrating a folk tale: a kidnaped princess calls on ghosts to haunt her abductors.

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Lunch at the courtyard pond.

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Two sculptures by Antonio Canova…

20140520-130721-47241843.jpg…and a magnificent portrait of Joshua Ward by Antonio Carlini. Ward is credited with developing a process for the mass production of sulfuric acid.

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Mee-yow! A lion from the V&A’s large collection of plaster casts.

Friday, May 16, 2014

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Wherever we went, we started out on the Picadilly.

Today we’re off to the Tower and the Saatchi Gallery.

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On the Tower grounds, waiting for the tour led by one of the Tower yeomen.

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A view of the Tower bridge from the grounds.

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What everybody’s here for, in case there’s any doubt.

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The so-called White Tower, which houses the armory collection. It is the first of several towers constructed on the site.

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From the parapets, a view of the Thames and the Shard, Renzo Piano’s 87-story skyscraper.

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I had always wanted to visit the Saatchi Gallery, which houses Charles Saatchi’s evolving art collection, since I saw the paintings of Jenny Saville, although it is more famous for introducing Damien Hirst’s installation of a tiger shark preserved in a vat of formaldehyde.

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Presumably inspired while the artist was put on hold by Customer Support.

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They don’t bother us and we don’t bother them.

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Art is where you find it.

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Supper was a burger in the cafe of the Royal Court Theatre.

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On the way home, Peggy peruses the tabs.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

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At the British Museum

Today was another museum day.

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Scouts leaving the British Museum as we approached.

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The entrance and the lobby of the Museum.

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The museum, like many others in London, is free, but donations are fervently and ubiquitously solicited.

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Ancient Egyptian royalty.

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The Rosetta Stone, the crucial link in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics. Judging from the five-foot-deep crowd around it, the most popular exhibit in the building.

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One of several pairs of Abyssinian sculptures flanking the museum hallways.

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The Museum describes these as the Parthenon Sculptures, although they are perhaps more widely known as the Elgin Marbles, in reference to their controversial removal from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin’s agents beginning in 1801. The interpretive plaque at right makes no mention of the demand for their repatriation by the Greeks, who understandably view this as a theft of their cultural heritage. For more detail, see the Wikipedia article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elgin_Marbles

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We wound up the day at the Tate Modern, and looked at everything that was free, which did not include the Matisse or Richard Hamilton exhibits.

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The coffee shop of the Tate has a wonderful view of the London skyline, looking north over the Thames.

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