The British Museum

IMG_0121_2IMG_0172IMG_0127_2The first place I visited in London was the British Museum. It’s a beautiful building. The Greek Revival exterior covers a modern open space under a geometric glass ceiling. The price is a very affordable free, like most of the larger museums in London.

From my visit, I would guess that every day, a new crop of school children visits. Therefore, they have either placed their exhibits out of reach or encased them in thick plastic cases. Sadly, this makes it hard to take a decent picture.

IMG_0163_2I always wanted to visit the British Museum because it houses not only the Rosetta stone (the big rock that helped decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, not the language program), but also many other things like the only Easter Island statue outside of Easter Island, genuine Egyptian mummies, IMG_0180_2and the stone reliefs that were removed from the Parthenon in Greece by Thomas Bruce, Earl of Elgin in 1802 and brought to the British Museum. IMG_0178_2IMG_0175_2According to the information at the museum, Lord Elgin removed the marbles and took them to England because he received reports of continuing destruction of ancient monuments. No further explanation is offered, but it’s a pretty sure thing that Greece didn’t intend for him to take the sculptures out of the country. I first read of “Lord Elgin’s marbles” in Regency romance novels. (It’s a popular interest for bluestockings.)

IMG_0181_2The collection is very large, and the sculptures are beautiful. The sections have been carefully arranged to show how they would appear on the building, and I spent a long time walking around the long gallery named after its benefactor, Baron Joseph Duveen. I wondered how they would all look in their original places, in color. Maybe that was the inspiration for the Parthenon in Nashville?IMG_0133_2

There are many other things to see at the museum, and as usual, I didn’t see everything. One more reason for a return trip.

I saw part of a beautiful set of Assyrian Lion Hunt reliefs that really should not be missed.

IMG_0155_2I walked through galleries filled with treasures of gold and silver, and studied a very old IMG_0147_2board game called the Royal Game of Ur.

But I didn’t bother photographing the host of Egyptian mummies behind the aforementioned thick plastic cases. Too many layers of child-sized fingerprints!

3 comments

  1. dosirakbento says:

    I love the British Museum, the building itself is already fantastic, let alone the collection. And it’s so great that the musea here in London are mostly free 🙂 When I spend too long in a museum, I sort off get tired because of the “overkill” of information, but I now pop into a museum just for half an hour or so.

    Return trips are definitely good!

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