A Romance Writer Goes to London: The British Museum and Sir John Soane Museum (part 9 in a series)

Foyer of the British Museum
Foyer of the British Museum

I’ll admit that I was mostly excited for Day 3 of our trip because we would be attending Mojo the play – and seeing COLIN MORGAN!! – that evening. But I was also fired up to visit the world-famous British Museum and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Even hubby was pretty excited, as, like me, he loves museums and large cathedrals.

Unfortunately, the day dawned gray and rainy. Although given it was the first time we’d had rain since we arrived, I shouldn’t BM2complain. Plus we had mostly indoor activities sketched out for the day, so besides being a bit of a mood dampener, the rain didn’t deter us. Upon arrival at the museum, hubby and I immediately split up – I wanted to search out any Regency-related artifacts I could find, whereas hubby headed to the Greek and Roman displays. Sadly, many of my pictures didn’t really come out, but I enjoyed examining Regency jewelry and buttons and watches and clocks. There were fewer items from the early 19th century than I’d seen at the V&A, I think.

Regency dishes
Regency dishes celebrating the defeat of Napoleon
A portrait of Lord Byron, who reminds me a bit of John Mayer - and Tom Hanks.
Lord Byron, who reminds me of singer John Mayer – and actor Tom Hanks.
The Prince Regent. On a box.
The Prince Regent. On a box.
Scottish brooch, @1530s.
Scottish brooch, @1530s.

After the Regency displays, I sought out the medieval sections of the Museum, still feeling affection for my former area of doctoral study. I loved studying the various artifacts. I stumbled across a display of pocket watches and clocks, and also one of money. It was fun to search out those from my period of interest, but also to see pieces across time and geographical space. and eventually found my way over to the other side of the Museum myself, in which I looked at ancient Greek vases (and thought of my step-dad, long a classical Greece enthusiast), then raced through rooms full of marble statues as I sought out the mummies. My favorite was the cat mummy display.

Medieval chess set.
Medieval chess set.
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A citole – predecessor of the modern guitar. @ 1300.
Ivorians from the Ottonian period (10th c Germany)
Ivory carving from the Ottonian period (10th c Germany) 
This gorgeous piece I actually got to handle. I believe it was 12th century.
This gorgeous piece I actually got to handle. I believe it was 12th century.
The famous Sutton Hoo helmet.
The famous Sutton Hoo helmet.
Bank of England one pound note.
Bank of England one pound note, 1821.
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Astronomical table clock, 1779.
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Silver and gold coins from the Georgian period, 1797 and 1804
Mummified cat.
Mummified cat.

BM24Unfortunately I ran out of time – we knew it was going to be a time-crunched day with all we wanted to do, so we’d agreed to spend only two hours or so at the Museum. Two hours are not enough – not nearly enough – to see everything. I know there were numerous displays I’d missed, but frankly I was happy (and a bit overwhelmed) with everything I’d taken in that morning, so after zipping in briefly to see the infamous Elgin marbles and a few other ancient items, we headed out in search of some lunch.

Panoramic view of the Elgin marbles.
Panoramic view of the Elgin marbles.

BM26It had stopped raining by that point, so I took advantage of that to snap a few pics of the exterior of the museum. We wandered briefly around the neighborhoods near the museum, searching for a Greek restaurant, but ultimately ended up at a chain pizzeria – the same chain at which we’d eaten the first night. Whatever. I didn’t care, and it’s what hubby wanted.

Panorama of British Museum
Panorama of British Museum
Hubby deciding which pizza to order.
Hubby deciding which pizza to order.
Entrance to Soane Museum
Entrance to Soane Museum

After a filling lunch, we walked to the Sir John Soane Museum. Hubby totally indulged me here, as I’m sure he wasn’t particularly interested in this Regency architect’s home. I was, though, as John Soane bequeathed his home and its contents to the England, and it is essentially an extant – if a bit unusual – Regency house. Pictures inside were not allowed, but I still enjoyed seeing the various rooms, and bought a guidebook so I could later remember the interior. Sir John Soane’s home lies directly across from the Lincoln’s Inn Fields, another large, beautiful green space in London, so I snapped a quick pic. Had I been on my own, I would have lingered much longer in the home, but I could tell hubby was chafing to get over to St. Paul’s…so off to the Tube we went!

Beautiful houses on the way to Sir Sloane Museum
Beautiful houses on the way to Sir Sloane Museum
Lincoln's Inn Fields
Lincoln’s Inn Fields

 

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