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Victoria & Albert Museum

An oasis in the heart of South Kensington, the V&A is a treasure trove of more than 2.5 million objects, the leading museum of art and design. Displaying a magnificent collection of sculpture, furniture, textiles, ironwork, jewellery, glass and ceramics, the museum offers an extraordinary overview of applied art and design from around the world going back 5000 years. It is a perfect place to wander along the miles of galleries, or to sit and contemplate in the serenity of the central John Madjesky courtyard, enjoying lunch, a coffee, or the fabric of the museum itself.

There are highlights from every period, but two of my favourites are small and almost hidden:

The Heneage or Armada Jewel dates from 1595. Jewels such as this were given as a sign of favour in the Tudor Court. This depicts a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I who reigned from 1558-1603, while the reverse show a ship navigating stormy seas - a metaphor for the Protestant ship weathering religious turmoil under the strong and steady hand of Queen Elizabeth I.

The second is this delicate wood sculpture by Veit Stoss, a German sculptor who carved this beautiful figure in about 1495. The Virgin and Child is tiny - less than 10 inches tall - and is exquisite in its detail and extraordinary in its masterful craftsmanship. My favourite detail is the way the Virgin's thumb presses into the fleshy thigh of the child in her arms.

Join me to discover these, and other treasures in the Victoria & Albert Museum - contact me for a bespoke tour.

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