I had a day off all by myself last week and decided to go to the V&A. I've been a few times since my son was born, but it always feels rushed when I'm trying to get to look at everything I want to see before he gets bored!
So, for the first time in years, I headed off sketchbook in hand. I had planned to visit the Ballgowns exhibition before it closed (I was expecting Hollywood Costume to be really busy so had already decided to give that a miss for now - although I doubt I'll make it back before it closes on 27 January) but the queue for tickets was enormous. In fact, I'm not sure I'd ever seen the museum that busy before, and I'm usually there on a Saturday. It seemed that two big exhibitions on at the same time and the end of the school holidays were to scupper my plans (I'm not one for queuing and, while I wasn't in a rush, I didn't have all day). So, I took myself up the third floor for a quieter wander around and some sketching.
Here's a sketch I started there and finished off once I got home, together with some postcards I bought:
I started off in the ironwork galleries and proceeded right around to the 20th Century rooms. My sketches above show some decorative ironwork and detail from some ceramic pieces. I plan to sit down and work some of these drawings up a little more at some point.
Here we have some sketches of fabric and wallpaper designs from the 20th Century galleries together with some pieces from the Africa room downstairs.
I'd forgotten just how much attention you get when you sit and draw in a busy museum (even more so when I got my little watercolour box out!) and lots of people came and looked over my shoulder.
I then went back to my old haunt, Fashion - where I spent a huge amount of time as a student. This Christian Dior dress was my favourite then (and I think it still is now).
The gallery has had a bit of a revamp since my college days though. Another couple of favourites (also from the early 50's you'll note):
So, I still had a very good time, despite missing out on the two big exhibitions (you could see some of the ballgowns at a distance from a balcony on the third floor - so I saw some!) and I've brought home lots of ideas to work on. I enjoyed taking my drawing things with me again as I haven't done so for a very long time. I'll definitely make sure I do in future, even if I have limited time and a small boy in tow!