- www.vam.ac.uk/ - CachedThe Victoria and Albert Museum is the world's greatest museum of art and design
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_and_Albert_Museum - CachedThe Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A), set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, ...
【明報專訊】「當一個人厭倦倫敦，他 其實已經嫌棄生命。（When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.）Samuel Johnson在1777年寫下的話，被重複引述無數次。大英帝國在18世紀邁進工業革命，海軍強盛，在世界各地擴張殖民地，國勢隆隆日上，倫敦自然充滿 了新鮮事物與樂趣。來到21世紀，世界的balance of power雖然換了局面，可是，倫敦還是倫敦，不會讓人（尤其旅客）厭倦。
明 年倫敦將舉辦奧運，改變與發展在所難免，運動場館所在地東倫敦區變化便特別大。其實，近年倫敦的發展，多集中在東面，因為倫敦中心的West End（所謂的西邊，是以中世紀倫敦的規模為標準，因西邊位處上風位，空氣較清新，所以是皇宮貴族的聚居地），古蹟與受保護建築特別多，限制了新發展。
東倫敦的蛻變，像Canary Wharf一帶的商業區，拔地而起的摩登高樓大廈群，無疑讓人眼前一亮，但其實倫敦「傳統」區域也在變化，只是它們的變化比較低調，外觀變動不大，不容易 讓人察覺，但只要細加留意，變化還是悅目可觀的。像南肯辛頓（South Kensington），那是倫敦數一數二的高尚住宅區。因為1851年世博（Great Exhibition）空前成功，帶來可觀收入，原本杳無人居的大片土地被當局購入，發展教育及展覽館。所以如今，我們能找到Victoria and Albert Museum（簡稱V&A博物館）、科學館及自然歷史博物館，毗鄰左右而且高度集中此區。
其 中的V&A博物館，成立於1857年，歷史長逾150年。最初命名為South Kensington Museum，在1899年改名為Victoria and Albert博物館。V&A的藏品多樣化，除了油畫、雕塑等傳統藝術品外，還開創多項先河，包括世界第一家提供公共餐廳的博物館、藏有全世界第一 張商業聖誕卡、首家博物館收藏相片等。當然，許多人更知道它的衣服收藏豐富，Vivienne Westwood當年便常常流連V&A，研習宮廷服的裁剪術。在2001年，博物館進行名為FuturePlan發展大計，並定位為世界最大的藝 術及設計博物館（the world's greatest museum of art and design）。展館陸續登場，記者近幾年到訪，果然次次有新意，例如2008年開設了The William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery ，展出逾3000件珍貴珠寶。剛在今年10月24日，則新設了攝影廊（Photographs Gallery），展出了歷史上舉足輕重的攝影大師作品，包括Henri Cartier-Bresson、Man Ray、Irving Penn等等。據網站透露，明年博物館除了特展外，還繼續有新意，如加建家具館、時裝館等，總之，它讓你每次來參觀，都能帶來新面貌新啟發。
A Home for Hidden Treasures in London
By PAM KENT
Published: January 22, 2010
WHEN it first opened in 1852, the stated mission of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London was to inspire designers, manufacturers and artists of the day. Now, with a brand-new set of galleries, the museum is hoping to inspire visitors by luring them back through the centuries.
Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, Gothic altarpieces and a room devoted to the Italian master Donatello are among a feast of treasures on show at the 10 new Medieval and Renaissance galleries at the museum, known locally as the V & A. In all, more than 1,000 years of history — from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the Renaissance — are surveyed in the galleries, which span three floors and more than 35,000 square feet in the east wing of the museum.
Built at a cost of £31.75 million (about $50 million) over seven years, the galleries feature 1,800 pieces, shown both thematically and chronologically. The opening represents the completion of the first phase of the museum’s £120 million 10-year plan to refurbish and redisplay its entire collection.
The new galleries, which opened Dec. 2, include hundreds of previously unseen pieces, necessitating a great deal of conservation work and research. “Many of the pieces have not been on display for 25 or 30 years, either because they needed work or we didn’t have the space,” said Moira Gemmill, the museum’s director of projects.
For example, the museum’s 12th-century Romanesque Trie-Château stone window arches had been in storage since 1983 because “there wasn’t a location for it,” she said. Now the museum can take the extremely rare arcade and “weave it into the overall chronology.”
Explanatory labeling, which has purposely been kept to a minimum, is complemented by computer displays at which the visitor can interact with the collection (you can flip through those da Vinci notebooks, for example; at other screens visitors can find out more about the exhibits through text and images). “We wanted the objects to be the heroes,” Ms. Gemmill said. “We didn’t want them to be crowded with graphic, contextual interpretation.”
Other objects are partnered with audio. At the “Boar and Bear Hunt” tapestry, circa 1425-30, visitors can listen to the poet Simon Armitage reading a hunt-themed passage from the 14th-century narrative poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Elsewhere, the pairings are visual. At the heart of “The Renaissance City” gallery, a courtyard is evoked with a working fountain surrounded by dramatic sculptures.
In other presentations, the scale is decidedly smaller. In an area devoted to Renaissance style and living, a cabinet contains an array of drinking glasses. But only on close inspection can the viewer note the interesting quirks. A glass, circa 1570, features a windmill apparatus for a stem; the windmill is actually a whistle that, when blown, moves the hands of a clock at the back of the stem. The trick, apparently, was to drink while the clock spun. Failure to complete that task meant the drinker had to finish as many additional glasses as the remaining number on the clock.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL; 44-20-7942-2000; www.vam.ac.uk. Open Saturday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free admission.