Friday, March 20, 2009
A quick peek at the British Museum
You may recall that at the end of last month my friend Lucy and I went to see the Byzantium Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts and then popped into the British Museum (if truth be told, to use the loo - those of you who know London well enough to be thinking, that's a long way to be going just to use the loo, the reason is we were heading to Tottenham Court Road for some gadget (window) shopping).
OK back to the British Museum. The toilets were cramped and busy and nothing to speak of, but the exhibits were certainly impressive. We wandered round for half an hour or so, as it seemed a shame not to, and took some photos. The British Museum is the most visited museum in London, and that's hardly surprising, as it has some very impressive collections from all over the world. This is just a sample of what you'd see if you only had a quick look on the way to the loos:
Limestone female figure
Neolithic, about 4500-3200 BC
From the island of Kárpathos, Aegean Sea
Granodiorite seated statue of Amenhotep III
From his mortuary temple, Thebes, Egypt
18th Dynasty, about 1350 BC
Pair of colossal statues of winged lions from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II
Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern Iraq
Neo-Assyrian, about 883-859 BC
3.5 centuries in front of your eyes just in the time it takes to walk from the main entrance to the loos and back. Not bad, eh?
At the time, there were two major temporary exhibitions: Babylon: Myth and Reality (now closed) and Shah 'Abbas: The Remaking of Iran, which is going strong till mid June. The two banners hanging on the walls of the Reading Room direct visitors. Not sure what the red statue represents...
Another view of the Great Court and the Reading Room (the curved building on the right). The glass roof is amazing, and has tranformed the Museum's inner courtyard into the largest covered public square in Europe.
At the information desk, there are guides in several languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic, Chinese and Russian.
Soon it was time to go as we needed to cross London before the evening rush hour started. This is the view from the museum entrance as we were leaving.
Hope you've enjoyed this quick tour of (part of) the ground floor at the British Museum. Let me know if you'd like to see more of it - you never know, I might be looking for a toilet in that part of London again soon.