Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Take me to the V & A Museum!

This is not going to be a post showing you everything I saw in the Victoria and Albert museum.

It would be too lengthy, too in depth, and somewhat still fall short because you can spend days, weeks, and more exploring the wonderful exhibits here.  If you were to come to London for ONE THING and one thing only –make it the Victoria and Albert museum.

We loaded up onto our bus, and off we went through the streets of London, having to take some alternate detour routes as it was a Sunday, and there was a triathlon happening in London which closed the route we normally would have taken.  Oh good!  New streets to discover through the windows of our comfy bus --- only the bus had to make tight turns and narrow roads and it started our morning out with quite the adventure.

And there…on the steps of the V & A even before entering, I found my LIFE MANTRA:


Check the line beneath the bottom step!

I am an Artist.  Your rules do NOT apply!! HA!


You CAN'T miss the chandelier in the front entrance!


Our group, gathering in the lobby area.

We had arranged for a guided tour of the most important textiles the museum houses.  The quilt collection however, is not on site at the museum anymore – we are not worried, we’ve got the American Museum in Bath and the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham coming up.  We were very excited to see a special piece dating from the 1300s…


Description of coverlet.

I don’t have the commentary to post between these photos, but believe me..it was MAGNIFICENT in person.  Photos are not great behind glass, and also not great with a crowd of people  ((Which is why I didn’t take many photos in the museum at all.  I wanted to concentrate on seeing the objects myself, not worrying how they would show up in a photograph to readers….sorry!))











Stop to contemplate what life was like in Italy in 1360.

The average life span….the living conditions.  What it took to weave just the fabric, not even thinking about layering it with batting, doing the trapunto and stuffed work, doing the close stitching…how many years would it take YOU to make this piece…and it is HUGE!  This is only half of it.  The other half lives somewhere else!

Of course there were loads of other fiber inspiration at the museum.  Tapestries are another thing I just love.  While needle point is yarn stitched through an already woven canvas, tapestry is the art of weaving in the design with thread, creating the fabric as you go, changing thread colors where required by the use of bobbins.


Our guide explaining to the group the significance of this piece.


From behind the group.


Another significant piece…this one is all applique!


See the stitches around each shape?

This knight is slaying a dragon which has downed his horse….if I remember correctly the whole tapestry portrays the story of Tristan and Isolde.


My group enraptured with EVERYTHING!


Quilt inspiration, anyone?


Don’t forget to look DOWN!




Tile inspiration!


Do you see this as a spider web quilt?


Does this look MODERN to you?



And there was so so so much more.  Take it from me…JUST GO.  It was unbelieveable and I didn’t get to see enough of it, I’d love to go again.  And maybe again.  And then later, again.  What a gift London has in the  V & A Museum!

What makes it even more special is that remarkably, through the 59 nights of continuous bombing during “The Blitz”, and even though the V & A did receive damage, it still stands.


Some scars remain.

These pock marks stand as a reminder of all that London suffered during the bombings in WWII.  I’m glad they left them.  May it never happen again!

Click Here to like our Quiltville Friends Page on Facebook for more fun!

Click Here to join our sister group, Quiltville's Open Studio on Facebook, a place to Sew, Share & Grow!!


  1. So glad you got to the V&A, it's a real treat. They also have reproduction historic print fabrics for sale in little bundles - you may find them at the Quilt show in B/ham if you missed them at the museum. All proceeds from sales support the work of the V&A - hence the cost!
    Try to have a cream tea when you are in Bath, it's a national treasure, especially if you can get a table in The Pump Rooms (££)

  2. LaRae Gatz6:00 AM EDT

    Bonnie, I for one would like to
    thank you from the bottom of my heart for your posts.. the textiles and all the sights are awesome!! And for you to take the time out of your trip for us, really means alot..
    thank you again!
    LaRae Gatz

  3. Bonnie, I am so glad that you're enjoying your stay in London. I'm only an hour's train ride away from our capital and I try to visit at least twice a year, often more. I love the art galleries, museums, theatres, markets and architecture. I started visiting solo when I was 15, trailed my 2 daughters around when they were young and still find things I haven't seen before 50 years later. My daughters have taken up the baton and regularly visit with their children, getting the next generation enthused in our heritage.

  4. Bonnie, I'm so glad You enjoy Your visit to London. The V&A always was my favorite museum, it's fabulous! I always was awed by the chandelier in the hall. I also took a foto of the knight with the dragon, but I thought it was St. George. Have a nice stay!

  5. It is an amazing place. I loved it when I visited last. It will stay in your mind forever. Lucky you. Enjoy as much as possible and don't worry about photos for everyone else. Maybe they could plan to go themselves....

  6. Bonnie,
    Thank you so much for sharing this journey through England with us, your readers, the photos and your viewpoint are inspiring. Every day I look forward to your post. Continue to enjoy trip! Claudia

  7. Amazing!! Thanks for sharing!! Enjoy yourself!!!

  8. Anonymous8:39 AM EDT

    Wonderful! I've never seen these particular pieces, how much work involved is staggering. And yes, the spider web design looks so modern and it's over 500 years old!! Classic design and inspiration. Thanks for sharing.--Nora

  9. I understand that in recognition of 100 anniversary of WWI all lights were turned off for an hour. How moving is that. I am so glad you are enjoying your trip. You have traveled to many places and I just love England.

  10. The gorgeous glass chandelier is by Dale Chihuly, famous U.S. artist. He has done many outdoor installations of his glass creations at the Desert Museum (Phoenix), Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis), Venice, Italy and other places. The V&A is amazing. You are making memories to last a lifetime.

  11. I would love to back again to this museum. Thank you for sharing your adventures in pictures and words. Love the quilt.

  12. I marvel at the OLD Trapunto you shared here today. I know the people didn't have our modern conveniences and the FREE-TIME like we do, as an Empty Nester I have way more time than I used to. They had to make a living and do everything the hard way way back when those were made. The tiles are amazing too. Will dome of those designs show up as Borders on the Mystery, I wonder???

  13. Oh we adored the V&A, too! We actually went two or three times in our 2 weeks in London. So glad you're enjoying it and thank you for taking us all along vicariously! Beth @ Words & Stitches

  14. Loved to visit the V&A! Would spend hours there each visit to London...so glad you are enjoying your trip!

  15. Anonymous11:26 AM EDT

    I heard another strap line which fits all quilt bunnies - "waste is just a demonstration of lack of imagination"! Glad the uk trip is going well - looking forward to the show on Saturday.
    Mrs Stitches

  16. Bonnie - I too want to thank you for your posts. You are truly a gift to all of us who follow your adventures. This post was a fascinating peek at a museum I didn't even know existed. Now I HAVE to plan a trip to England! Safe journey.

  17. That was also our favorite place in London during our trip last year. We went back several times. I'm so glad you are getting to see all these wonderful sights!!

  18. I am so enjoying YOUR trip to England, you are dear to share.

    I think that chandelier is a Dale Chihuly piece. He is from Seatle, WA.

  19. Dale Chihuly is actually from Tacoma, Washington. (Yes, us Tacomans have a chip on our shoulder about being taken for Seattle all the time!) I love that he has a piece in the V&A!

    I spent very little time at the V&A when I was in London -- I wasn't as into textiles as I am now, and there are a lot of other wonderful museums that I could get to more easily. I've been kicking myself for years for missing out!

  20. I am so enjoying reading your impressions of England and can't wait to see what you think of the English countryside and smaller cities and towns.
    When I saw your photo of the tiles, I thought EPP not spider webs.

  21. What wonderful quilt mystery will come from your visit? I am thinking the spider web tiles might be upcoming!
    Smiles, thanks for the tour! I agree the Tower of London and V&A is totally must sees in London.
    Smiles, JulieinTn

  22. Oh Bonnie - how awesome! I am so happy for you that you are on this trip. The only thing that would make me happier is if I was there too! :)

  23. I have loved tapestries ever since listening to "The Lady and the Unicorn" by Tracy Chevalier. If you have not read or listened to this one, please add it to your list...it is good! Enjoy Bath!! And thanks for sharing it with us!

  24. Anonymous7:27 AM EDT

    The photos of the quilt was amazing!!!! What an adventure you are on and I love the fact that you are sharing!!!! Thanks so much for the inspiration!!
    Dee Dalton

  25. I see the next mystery quilt in these photos!


Did you know that ad space on this blog provides for all of the free patterns and free mysteries and challenges at no cost to you? Without ads, this blog would not be possible.

Thank you for understanding the many hours that go into this blog 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year. :)