Thursday, January 03, 2013

Over the Break...

Christmas and the New Year were mostly spent at home (and with the weather lately, with no regrets at that), but we did get out for a couple of things.

One was Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire at the British Library. Hmm - I remember when the British Library was this thing buried behind the immediately-visible scenes at the British Museum. Then, for a while after they moved to Kings Cross, they seemed to do just little exhibitions about language and bibliography. This, though, had the look of a major museum exhibition. Actually, though, it did mainly lean on stuff from the Library's own collections - a few maps and letters and so on and a lot of gorgeous illustrated texts. The Mughals had that fondness for micro-detailed art - one assumes that a lot of anonymous artists with one-haired brushes ruined their eyesight to bring us this beauty. Just digging some of those pages out from the stacks and putting them on show certainly justified this event. Still, the curators had also borrowed a suit of mail from the Royal Armouries and some swords and plaques and sculptures from elsewhere, giving things a slightly more three-dimensional quality, and it was all presented nicely. Worth the trip.

Oh, and we also got to Kew Gardens. We'd been meaning to have a look at the place in winter for a while. One reason was the treetop walkway; we were somewhat curious to see what the view would be like with the leaves off the trees. The answer there turned out to be "not without interest, but not that much different either"; there are enough evergreens and densely-branched deciduous growth to obstruct views a bit, and there was no clear view through to much of London. On the other hand, well, the conservatories are always fascinating and of course mostly disregard the weather outside; I'm pretty sure that the Princess of Wales Conservatory had more open and on show than last time I was there, and there were some aquariums in the basement of another building that I don't recall seeing before. Oh, and there were some sculptures on exhibition, too.

So that was another good day out. And we didn't even get rained on very much.