Beware the Victoria and Albert Museum

This little understated snuff box crafted for Frederick the Great caught my eye in the V&A. It made my tupperware lunch box look a little tawdry but I snapped it anyway.
This little understated snuff box crafted for Frederick the Great caught my eye in the V&A. It made my tupperware lunch box look a little tawdry but I snapped it anyway.

Jennifer Nichole Wells’ One Word Photo Challenge is “Hail”. It made me think of this snuff box which reminded me of a frozen lake covered with shards of ice. (only the ice happened to be diamonds with colored foil backs and the water a slice of opal)

Here is my experience in the V&A Meuseum – Not for the faint-hearted!

Setting out from Oxford one sunny summer day I took a comfortable coach to London for a wander about the Victoria and Albert museum. Unlike my visit to the Louvre where I had most fastidiously planned my passage, I believed that the V&A would just be less imposing and easily negotiated.

What a neophyte I was.

Starting slowly I meandered through the medieval treasures, an ornate reliquary here, an embroidered cope there, and was very taken by a Plique-à-jour ciborium of most extraordinary workmanship. Then on through the various ages, gradually growing more and more overwhelmed by the sheer quantities of decorative arts encased in the one building. The Louvre seemed sparse by comparison as I found my way to the top of the building to find immense glass cabinet after immense glass cabinet filled with examples of the rarest porcelain and pottery stacked layers deep.

Prone to catastrophizing I envisioned the priceless examples of man’s ingenuity crashing to the ground in an earthquake. So much potential loss in such a relatively small space. The fact that I could not recall London being particularly prone to earthquakes meant nothing and even If there were no earthquakes I could imagine with horror the potential damage a belligerent elderly person could do with a zimmer frame if suitably provoked.

Despite my fascination with objects d’art the whole began to be too much and noticing the time was rapidly approaching when my coach would depart I began to run through the galleries, but glimpsing the treasures of the Arts and Craft movement and eschewing the Art Nouveau section altogether.

My interest already supersaturated with a surfeit of exquisite articles I saw a sign indicating the “Diamond Room” and although vitiated by my experiences felt compelled to see what was within.

I have never been so astounded in my life. Blinding showers of rainbow light shot from the settings of thousands of gems and after being almost blinded by an aigrette of the most astonishing brilliance, I groped my way to the entrance stopping only to snap a sequence of photographs of some simply decorated snuff boxes that once belonged to Frederick the Great.

I knew that I had missed thousands more treasures and I would love to return… once I am stronger.

VNW Photo Prompt:


  1. Gorgeous picture. Being easily overwhelmed, I now know to never attempt the diamond room myself. I’ll just have to wait for you to go back and post the pictures.


  2. Mmm the Diamond room sounds especially tasty for a human bower bird such as myself – thanks for sharing this story from your travels- I haven’t been to V&A yet, might have to pay it a visit! It’s a bit sad to hear such priceless treasures are just sitting around vying for attention in a space which sounds overcrowded with bling.. all that pillaging in the name of the empire and now they’re just sitting around gathering dust!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so agree. I love decorative arts but it is a great shame that it is hard to see many of the pieces in the cabinets. It is well worth a visit though! Take your sunglasses for the diamond room! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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