Yesterday I took the train to London to visit a friend. We met at Liberty’s, and had a lovely time looking round at the fabrics, homewares and bathroom goodies. My plan for visits to Liberty is to treat it as a museum rather than a shop – it’s hard to go in there and not be envious of the fact that some people can afford all those pretty trinkets… I had actually allowed myself enough of a budget to buy a metre of whatever Liberty print fabric caught my fancy, but on the day nothing was quite perfect enough, and so I’ll save that privilege for another time. (Incidentally, you may have heard about the raised eyebrows caused by the current window display at Liberty: a series of quilts of a fairly adult nature. Scandalous!)
We then went to the V&A in time for lunch – a museum I don’t think I’ve visited before. Their quilting exhibition has just opened and seemed to be drawing a great crowd – there was a gift shop attached that had all sorts of fabric for sale (not cheap!) and it was thronged with people. The V&A is huge, and it’s the sort of place that is not easy to find your way around. At first we tried to find specific exhibits we were interested in, but that was too much like hard work, so we simply took the lift up to a floor that sounded appealing, and then wandered around. Even then we got lost – it seemed for a while as though we were trapped, with every doorway and staircase fenced off. Even doors we had previously walked through were locked, and we thought we’d have to live there. Happily we eventually found the gift shop, and from there you can see daylight and the world outside.
I love the sort of museum where you can see a diverse collection of stuff, from all eras and from all over the planet. We looked at jewellery made thousands of years ago, and telephones from the 1960s (we have a repro one of these in our house!), then statues from Thailand and China. There were marble statues, stained glass windows, and all sorts or religious artefacts, such as a set of tiny cups for communion wine.