In order to get to the Victoria and Albert Museum we walked through the western extremity of Hyde park – Kensington Gardens. We were surprised to see that we could go into Kensington Palace where numerous royals live including the Sussexes, Megan and Harry. Children were playing in their garden and it was free! Perhaps we will go back and take up their offer of a visit.
Every museum is huge. One has to have a specific aim to a visit. Mine was to check out their ceramics exhibits. My grandmother had given me a pink printed cup and saucer that look very old. There were 10 rooms of vases, plates, teapots, from around the world. My cup and saucer were most likely English so that narrowed it down a bit. Huge glass cases, tall and narrow, with glass shelves almost reached the ceilings. I saw similar cups to mine that were made in the 16th or 17th century, so perhaps I have an antique!
One of the many ceramics of interest was of Charles Spurgeon, born 1834, the famous Baptist preacher shown standing in a pulpit. (above)
From there we went to the Royal Albert Hall to go to a Proms concert. One of the pictures on the staircase showed Queen Victoria arriving to open the newly built Albert Hall. In the background is the statue of her beloved late husband Albert who died at the age of 42. Victoria was heartbroken and mourned his passing for the rest of her life. She couldn’t bear to see his image, so it had been covered over with draperies for the occassion.
The first part of the concert was Gershwin’s American in Paris. The second was the Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalila symphony. It was interesting to try to spot which instrument was making which strange sound. We decided that 75 minutes of it was possibly 60 minutes too long! As Graham said, ‘if it had been on the radio, he would have changed programmes!’ One of the strange instruments was an “ondes martenot”, designed by a Frenchman, that just a few people know how to play.