London – Day 4, Part 2

…..Diana’s Memorial Fountain, Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, the V & A and happy birthday to my sweetie

While walking along the Serpentine we came across Princess Diana’s Memorial Fountain. It was officially opened in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth and the opening was attended by Prince Charles, her two sons and her brother Charles Spencer. It was the first time in seven years that the Spencers and the Windsors came together to honour Diana.

The fountain itself was designed by an American, Kathryn Gustafson.  She had wanted the fountain, which was built to the south of the Serpentine, to be accessible and to reflect Diana’s “inclusive” personality.IMG-8812
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From the fountain we walked further west towards Kensington Gardens where we came across the Albert Memorial. From the size of the memorial you would have thought that Albert had been a king but it was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband Prince Albert, who died in 1861. The memorial was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott.

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After Kensington Gardens we headed south to meet up with my husband Kevin and our son, Brendan. Brendan is a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum.IMG-8833
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The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity. The Museum holds many of the UK’s national collections and houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, theatre and performance. (copied from the V&A website – www.vam.ac.uk)

Brendan gave us a wonderful personal tour of some of his favourite rooms at the museum.

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The last five photos were taken in the casting room. The gold leaf that you see here was used to cover the private parts of the statue, David, whenever Queen Victoria would come to visit the museum.

Opened in 1873, the Cast Courts display copies of some of the world’s most significant works of art reproduced in plaster, electrotype, photography, and digital media. The cast collection is famous for including reproductions of Michelangelo’s David, Trajan’s Column, and Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, amongst many others.(copied from the V&A website).

Brendan explained to us that the whole idea of making these copies was to bring the world to the people at a time when most people couldn’t afford to travel to exotic places. Over the years these copies have become invaluable reproductions because many of the original pieces have been damaged or disappeared because of environmental factors or conflict.

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It’s impossible to see everything in this museum in one visit. I went back a couple more times I was in London.

After an exhausting day of walking we went back to our apartment to rest and freshen up. October 2nd is Kevin’s birthday so Brendan and Azadeh booked a reservation at a restaurant in Central London called Polpo Smithfield. We had a wonderful time sharing numerous plates of delicious Venetian food. fd3f46d5-f05c-407b-b1bb-20256b07ea63
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