Sunday, February 26, 2017

The British Museum

The British Museum is one of those places where a single article or in this case, blog post is simply not enough.  It is right up there with the premier museums of the world and is one of London's most visited attractions drawing in excess of six million visitors a year.

The museum's entrance on Great Russell Street shows off the neoclassical architecture in all its magnificent grandeur.  The grand entrance was intended to reflect the wondrous objects housed inside and I think it does that rather well.

Passing through that grand facade into the museum, you find yourself in the area called Watson Hall and its classical Greek design.

A few steps past Watson Hall brings you to the Great Court, a truly stunning achievement in architectural design by Norman Foster.  The centerpiece for the museum was completed in 2000.

The soaring glass and steel ceiling covers what was once a courtyard that had become unusable because of a structure to house historic books that was built at its core.  Those books are now at home at the British Library and this space became ripe for huge remodeling.

Mr. Foster did a spectacular job making this space the center focal point for the entire museum and it's vast collection.

Among the museum's most famous possessions is this statue of Ramesses II dating back to 1270BC and weighing in at over 7 tons.

Of course there are Egyptian mummies and the ornate sarcophagi to go with them.

In fact, the Egyptian collection is one of the most popular in the museum.  If you are there on a Sunday like I was, you will find the rooms full of visitors.

I enjoyed walking through the mummies and statues but, I was fascinated with some of the smaller treasures to be found in the quieter rooms.  I posted about the The Lewis Chessman in another post.

To the right is a gilt Bacchus sitting atop a barrel of wine.

And, on the left is a glazed ceramic vase depicting Hercules embracing Deiarina after rescuing her from the centaur Nessus.

One thing that always impresses me is seeing ancient glass creations that have survived the centuries in seemingly perfect condition.

This one is described as gilded enameled glass probably coming from Syria or Egypt but mounted into a goblet in France somewhere around 1200.

I spent the better part of a day wandering around this boundless repository.  I even stopped for lunch at the restaurant under that splendid glass ceiling.

There are so many fabulous museums in the city of London, I don't think I'd ever run out of things to see and things to learn if I lived there my entire life.

This post is linked to Through My Lens.


Bill Nicholls said...

A place well worth visiting though I do find the exhibitions a rip off, the Celtic one I went to in paticular

William Kendall said...

I'd love to see this museum myself someday. Beautiful shots!

Lowell said...

The first, third and fifth shots are beautifully symmetrical! The rest of your shots are merely superb! What a grand place. Reminds me a little of the Louvre.

Photo(Geo)grapher said...

I've never been in the British Museum, but I’d like to visit it some day. Lovely photos

Catalyst said...

When we went to London in 1985, SWMBO took a nap at our room in the (then) Hotel Russell to get over her jet lag. I was too excited to be in London for the first time and went for a walk. I was amazed to discover this museum just a couple of blocks away and went in to that wonderful old reading room and wandered around a bit . . . in LOVE with this grand museum. I'd love to get back some day.