Sunday, July 23, 2006

A House and A Museum

Apsley House
Apsley House

Wellington Arch
Wellington Arch

Today I explored the Apsley House on Hyde Park Corner. It was designed by Robert Adam as the home of the Duke of Wellington. Walking into a Robert Adam house is a unique experience because you can feel the influence of his study of classical design. The proportions of each room are perfect and they simply feel good to be in. No matter how ornate the details the rooms still feel comfortable. Most notable for me were the high ceilings. They added drama and still gave the rooms space to breath. Any shorter and the house would be claustrophobic and uncomfortable. Much of Adam’s original design has been changed by later renovations, but you can still feel his influence.

The interiors were magnificent. Each detail was exquisite, and the accessories were made up of gifts and trophies given to Wellington for defeating Napoleon at Waterloo. The Waterloo Gallery is almost indescribable. Not only does it have a two story ceiling, a pair of 10 foot candelabras, and elaborate gold leaf moldings and details, but the red damask walls are covered in fine art. Once I got over the grandeur of the room and started to look at the paintings I realized I was surrounded by works by Velazquez, Carvaggio, Ribera, Van Dyck, Mengs, Correggio, Romano, Brueghel, Marillo, Rubens, Van De Velde, and Von Aachen. No wonder there are so many security guards. Apsley House is gorgeous and sumptuous, and truly palatial. It’s an incredible place to visit, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to live here.

I finished the day with a trip back to the V&A and the rooms I missed the first time through.

Melville Bed

This is a sketch of the Mellville Bed. I think it's hideous in all of it's spendour.

I love the lighting in the architecural rooms even more than I loved the models.



The glass exhibit is beautiful, from ancient to contemporary. Glass has always been one of my favorite materials.


Another Chihuly piece

This bench is incredible. It's lit with LED lights with no wires showing, and they let you sit on it!



I'm fascinated by this railing too. So simple, yet so beautiful.


A better view of the Chihuly from the second floor.

The iron work is just as delicate as glass.




A new Islamic exhibit opened since I was here last week. This rug is just gorgeous.


And this script is 1,000 years old.


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