04 Apr 2022

The Victoria and Albert Museum: What You Must See

There is so much to see and do in London that you are simply spoiled for choice. From history to culture, the arts and so much more, London is bound to have something for you to enjoy. Although there is plenty to enjoy in London, this article will focus on what you must see when you visit the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The Victoria and Albert Museum is one of London’s most unique museums. It holds a wide collection of art. These range from traditional pieces such as paintings, to more modern pieces such as jewellery. As well as this, it is situated in the heart of London. This means that you can visit the Victoria and Albert Museum and be within range of numerous other tourism hotspots in London!

With such a wide range of art on display, it should come as no surprise that the Victoria and Albert Museum attracts plenty of visitors each year. Keep reading to discover what you must see when you visit the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Although this article will cover the Victoria and Albert Museum, there are plenty more activities and experiences to enjoy in London that can be found here.

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When is the best time to explore the Victoria and Albert Museum?

There really is no bad time to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum. No matter when you choose to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, you are sure to have a memorable experience. And don’t forget, as we’ve already covered, the Museum’s location means that it is easily accessible when you choose to visit London.

While it is cheaper to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum outside of the summer months, this does not mean that visiting in the summer is bad by any means. Indeed, walking around the Victoria and Albert Museum during the summer is a very pleasant experience indeed.

The Cast Courts

Visitors look up at the Statue of David
The Cast Courts at the Victoria and Albert Museum

This section of the Victoria and Albert Museum is home to some of the world’s greatest statues. Well, sort of. Although you may not be able to believe it at first, these impeccably-designed statues are not actually the real thing. Believe it or not, they are recasts. However, this is by no means a bad thing. On the contrary, this means that the Cast Courts offers visitors the chance to see some of history’s greatest masterpieces.

Some of the incredible works on display include the likes of Michelangelo’s David, Trajan’s Column, the Nymph of Fontainebleau and Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, among others.

The statue of David has a particularly unique backstory. The story goes that the Victoria and Albert Museum acquired a cast of Michelangelo’s famous work in 1857. However, the Queen was utterly shocked by the nudity on display. So much so, that a fig leaf was later commissioned for any future royal visits.

“We are not amused” indeed.

Tippoo’s Tiger

A model tiger mauls a model soldier
Tippoo’s Tiger is one of the best works at the museum

Given the wide array of work that you can see at the Victoria and Albert Museum, it says a lot about the quality of this piece that it features on this list. That’s not to take anything away from the other exhibits. Tippoo’s Tiger may be bizarre but, in our opinion, it is among the best works that the museum has to offer to visitors.

Tippoo’s Tiger depicts a tiger mauling an unfortunate soldier. However, unlike a lot of thought-provoking works, you can actually interact with this one. All you have to do is turn the handle, and the arms of the soldier will move and the soldier will make a wailing noise. The reason why this particular piece is so interesting in our opinion is that it is meant to represent the mauling of the Western oppressor.

Ironically, despite the piece showing the mauling of the Western soldier, it was the Western soldier that won this proverbial duel. The piece was looted by the British Army in 1799. It was then shipped back to England. It then became a big hit at the Indian Museum, which was later incorporated into the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Glass Chandelier

The Glass Chandelier hangs from the ceiling
The Glass Chandelier is one of the more unique works at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Dave Chihuly’s Glass Chandelier is certainly a well-known piece of art. Yet while it is certainly dramatic, this work of art has divided opinion. However, that is all the more reason to see it for yourself. Seeing it in person will enable you to get a much better perspective than can possibly be gained from photographs. If you do decide to see the Glass Chandelier for yourself, we would recommend that you view it from the upstairs balcony to get the best view.

It was created in 2001 and was inspired by the extravagant and beautiful designs of the Murano glassworks in Venice. Despite its size, you may be surprised to learn just how heavy the Glass Chandelier actually is. Believe it or not, altogether this particular piece of art weighs an astounding 3800 pounds!

The Fashion Gallery

Most things in this world have changed with the times. Few things are a better example of this than the world of fashion. Fashion is an essential feature of the museum, and the vast array of clothing on display is a testament to this fact.

Altogether, the Fashion Gallery houses works that span five centuries! These range from the 1700s right through to the present day. Although they contain what you might define as a standard fare – hats, bags, suits and dresses – the Gallery is also home to some pieces of clothing that stand out even more than usual. After all, you can find a pair of shoes that date back to Ancient Egypt on display here!

The Fashion Gallery is able to showcase just how much our taste in fashion has changed and adapted over time. For instance, while the Gallery showcases some incredible fashion, it also houses a coat by a designer that is considered by some to be one of the worst things that have ever been designed!

It is a testament to the popularity of this particular gallery that it is one of the busier rooms in the Museum. For this reason, we would advise you to get here as early as possible.

The Jewellery Gallery

Jewels are arranged in a circle
The Jewellery Gallery at the museum houses some incredible gems

Another vital component of the Victoria and Albert Museum is jewellery. What’s more, the jewellery here is not what you may be picturing in your head. When it comes to jewellery in museums, you may be picturing images of archaeological finds. However, the Jewellery Gallery instead houses some truly awe-inspiring gems that will make your jaw drop!

 The Jewellery Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum is kept deliberately dark. This is so that the gems can shine properly without the disturbance of artificial light. Altogether, the Jewellery Gallery is made up of three rooms that are filled with a collection of 3,500 jewels. What’s more, these are not restricted to relatively recent history. Indeed, the jewels on display collectively cover over 3,000 years of history.

The vast display includes the likes of brooches, crowns and pendants and so much more. You can even find jewellery that was worn by Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great. Needless to say, this is an incredibly popular area of the museum, so make sure that you get here early!

Thank You from easyGuide

We hope you found our guide to The Victoria and Albert Museum in London: What You Must See useful. Don’t forget you can find tickets to the top attractions, activities, experiences and tours in London here.

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