Masterpieces of Chinese Painting: 700-1900

Emperor Huizong: Ladies preparing silk

(Victoria & Albert Museum, London, closed on 19 January 2014)

This exhibition was the hit of the autumn in London. Many people told me how wonderful it was, but for various reasons I only managed to get there on the final weekend, when a friend and I realised that we were in danger of missing it altogether. How I wish I’d managed to go a little sooner! It would have been great to read the catalogue and then go back again to savour it all from a more informed perspective. As it was, I was almost completely ignorant of what to expect, and found myself bowled over.

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Treasures of the Royal Courts

van Herwijck: Elizabeth I: The Hampden Portrait

Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars

(Victoria and Albert Museum, London, until 14 July 2013)

Along with my Murillo adventures last weekend, I also visited the V&A, to see their  exhibition about the early years of diplomacy between the English court and the Tsars of Russia. This has a (rather tenuous) Lymond connection, as it opens with the expedition of the adventurer Richard Chancellor, who my fellow Dunnetteers will remember from The Ringed Castle. Naturally, considering my enthusiasm for all things Tudor and Stuart, I would have gone to the exhibition anyway, but the Dunnett angle offered a welcome little extra dose of piquancy.

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Hollywood Costume

Hollywood Costume

(Victoria & Albert Museum, until 27 January 2013)

The V&A have assembled more than 100 of the most famous costumes in film history for their winter exhibition, which is unsurprisingly very popular and consequently very crowded. The selection seems to have been guided by no real principle, beyond the admirable one of trying to include examples from as many different genres and periods as possible. The purpose of the exhibition is to use these outfits as a framework, to educate the general public about the process of designing costumes for the movies.

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