Today started with the traditional long black (sorry Americano) accompanying my oats, yogurt and fruit- sustenance clearly prepping my brain for some serious exposure and learning. Trotting out of the my West Kensington flat armed with my Canon EOS100 in my reclaimed ‘thriller’ cut off jacket and ripped jeans I was ready to hit Victoria and Albert museum a world art collection of all mediums spanning over two thousand years for a day of learning.
My first point of call – furniture. The furniture room (for all you furniture enthusiasts – a must see whilst you’re in London, details here) at the V&A is lined with historical pieces in chronological order. Demanding attention, like it was renowned in its prime of the mid 16th Century was the Master Chair. Certainly not my taste with dragonheads extended on the armrest, yet, I fervently wished this chair had a voice to tell me stories of its time. FYI I love a story, to me this is the most fascinating aspect of style. Most of my personal pieces are op shop buys or refurbed from lawn sales because they’re cheaper and a challenge (I still have a few unfinished projects at mum and dad’s, sorry guys) but more so; hold history, a story, another home and go down as the best secret keepers of all.
I was stopped next by William Vile’s 1762, Commode originally designed for storage of clothing and linen, grew into a status symbol and would have been pieced together with a mirror above. The gold detailing and bright fuchsia combo reminded me of my primary school days and a doona cover I used to have.
All this history was hurting my poor brain so it was skim latte and muffin time in the midday sun of the museum courtyard – delicious.
On a sugar and caffeine high, and slightly lost (because this place is massive!) I decided to stumble into the Asian history. Life; so colourful, loud and busy these paintings invited you in as a bystander involved in the processing parade and played a subconscious soundtrack of chimes and bustle.
As I explored and exposed my eyes, I was struck by the similarities in the use of dragons, shapes and colours from upstairs (I think it was upstairs, hard to tell where I actually was before – FYI never get me to navigate you anywhere). The; Master Chair’s use of dragons and the shape of the backrest mimicking the that of turbans and jewellery worn by emperors, Commode – bold fuchsia and gold detailing similar to the vibrancy of the traditional dress and artwork from this part of the world.
So was there any link between the two? I gave a little fist pump after I read further into the British colonization of Asia. So here’s something to impress your friends at your next dinner party; from 1550 – 1900 invaders came from all over the globe to conquer the lucrative Asian spice trade, specifically what is now known as India, Bangladesh and Pakistan – this exposure to new elements, working tools and materials saw impressionism of Asia burst into the homes of British elitist towards the later stages of the 1600-1700’s – hence the dragons and gold (well that’s my interpretation anyway). Tada! Look at that we’ve all learnt something today and I’ve certainly got a few places added to my next overseas holiday.
Happy hump day!