Wednesday, 28 May 2008

A Day at the V&A

Had an excellent day there, met two very helpful people Helen and Janet who gave me lots of ideas to follow up. So, many in fact I've abandoned the Ashmoluem piece , just too difficult and not that attractive in contrast the V&A has some lovely works with a Black presence. I've almost decided on which piece but I want to use the posting exercise to examine a few more in a little more detail.

After the meeting I spent the day looking at some pieces and pictures, I'll post these over the coming days, before ending it in the V&A’s fabulous (or so I thought) library.

The afternoon in the library was very revealing. I ordered only two books one they didn't have - Paul Kaplan's seminal work The Rise of the Black Magus in Western Art - I need to go to the Bodleian in Oxford for which I need a letter from my tutor to see this book; the other Ladislas Bugner and Prof David Bindman's equally seminal The Image of the Black In Western Art - they had it BUT it was store the other side of the building which meant a two hour wait….hmmm..not a great introduction to V&A’s library. However the staff were great friendly and helpful, the system of finding a place and ordering books is a bit antediluvian hope I can get use to it.

The wait for The Image was worth it I spent a hasty 45 mins as it ws close to closing time leafing thru it. On the down side I ordered the wrong part – there are three! This covered Egypt, Greece and Rome the later centuries are covered in the other two books nevertheless some great images interestingly they did most of their research through pictures 6.5 million from 40 institutions worldwide. I was taught it was a cheat for an author to write about a piece they had not seen in the flesh, I guess the title of the book does not require they actually see the piece!

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