V&A Window

In my twenties I used to consider stealing the jade carving, Eight Geese Box, from the Victoria and Albert Museum in Knightsbridge. I might previously have mentioned how I was often overwhelmed at the V&A. First would be the school children; their swarms of uniformity; grey, bottle green or yucky blue. Murmurations of chattering kids plunging through the hallways in search of the latest special exhibition. I would panic and freeze, let them split and regather as they passed me; their excitement zinging off the walls. Next came the inevitable guilt. Simply put, so much was wrong about Victoria’s empire,  collected beauty had an awful human cost. Finally there was the feeling of inadequacy. There is no room for imperfection at the V&A. If I had come to study, then being surrounded by masterpieces would demoralize, just as often as it inspired me.

So, when I was completely overwhelmed, I would find the Eight Geese Box, in its glass case, in Room 44, of the East Asia Collection (The TT Tsui Gallery), and I would quietly calm myself, by contemplating its theft. I honestly forget why this exhibit stood out as an ideal target for larceny; although it is superb, and probably small enough to slip inside a V&A tote bag. I do know that by the time I’d left Britain I’d developed the genesis of an elaborate Eight Geese heist strategy. Time has calmed me. Looking at Ian’s photograph, I now realise that the wiser choice, when overwhelmed by the the V&A, gleeful crowds, or  guilt, or inadequacy, would be to simply look out of a nearby window, and enjoy a moment of quiet reflection.

If you’re interested, I have definitely moved on from the Eight Geese Box, and on my last visit to the V&A,  instead I imagined how to thieve an early sixteenth century, German, stained glass panel: Tobias and Sara on their wedding night. I am going to need a much bigger tote bag.

Blog photograph copyrighted to the photographer and used with permission by utata.org. All photographs used on utata.org are stored on flickr.com and are obtained via the flickr API. Text is copyrighted to the author, Rachel Irving and is used with permission by utata.org. Please see Show and Share Your Work