Wednesday, 19 May 2021

The Duchess Visits V&A on Reopening Day: "People Have Been Craving Art" & A Tour of Scotland Announced

As the Victoria & Albert museum reopened its doors to the public for the first time this year, their royal patron, the Duchess of Cambridge, paid a special visit to mark the occasion and enjoyed a tour of two leading exhibitions.

The Duchess was very excited to have the opportunity to visit again, revealing she had to "cancel three previous trips" due to Covid-19. As she was welcomed, she said, "It's nice to be here." The Evening Standard reports Gallery assistant Niede Gentelini told her, "The museum is this beautiful because to the collections, it is the soul of the museum. We are very happy to welcome you." To which Kate replied, "People have been craving art. All this beauty is not so beautiful if people aren’t here to see it."

The Duchess became the V&A's first royal patron in 2018. At the time, the Palace said it was chosen as it "reflects Her Royal Highness’s continued personal interest in the visual arts, photography and design". The museum was officially opened by Queen Victoria in 1857. Over four decades later, the laying of the foundation stone of the Aston Webb building (to the left of the main entrance) on 17 May 1899 marked the last official public appearance by the monarch. It was during this ceremony that a change of name from the South Kensington Museum to the Victoria and Albert Museum was made public. Queen Victoria's address during the ceremony, as recorded in the London Gazette, ended: "I trust that it will remain for ages a Monument of discerning Liberality and a Source of Refinement and Progress."

Today, the V&A is the world’s leading museum of art, design, education and performance with collections "unrivalled in their scope and diversity". It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, the V&A’s collection spans more than 5,000 years of human creativity, showcasing work in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world.

The pandemic has been an incredibly trying time for the arts sector, but hopes are high the museum will not have to close its doors again.

Kate first viewed Raphael Court, home to the Raphael Cartoons. It has undergone an extensive nine-month refurbishment to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist's death.

Kensington Palace noted: "A set of seven full-scale designs for tapestry painted by Raphael, the Cartoons were commissioned in 1515 by Pope Leo X for the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel and are considered to be one of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance."

Below, Paul Preaching at Athens (Acts 17: 16 – 34), cartoon.

The Raphael Cartoons are widely considered one of the finest treasures of the Renaissance in the UK.

More on the challenges Raphael encountered in their creation from the V&A:

'In designing the Cartoons, Raphael faced three challenges. Firstly, he had to comply with the existing decoration of the Sistine Chapel (completed in the early 1480s) and adapt his design to the style of the previous generation. Secondly, he had to create a design that would meaningfully translate from a work on paper to the less subtle medium of tapestry. 

And thirdly, he had to account for the fact that his designs would be reversed during the weaving process. The tapestries would be created Brussels (today in Belgium) using low-warp looms which produce a reversed image of the original design. Raphael would have to anticipate this in their compositions. Although Italy had at that time several centres of textile production, Brussels had made a speciality of tapestry weaving since the early 14th century.'

Kate heard about the restorative work and the newly refreshed gallery, which now features digital experiences. The cartoons are on loan to the museum from Her Majesty the Queen.

From there, Kate visited the V&A’s landmark 2021 exhibition 'Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser'.

The exhibition is the first of its kind to fully explore the impact of the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland culturally and its inspirations for figures such as Vivienne Westwood, the Beatles and Yayoi Kusama. Below 'A Mad Tea Party' by Salvador Dali.

300 objects are on display covering the themes of art, fashion, music, photography and adaptations of the book across 158 years.  Below, an illustration from the first published edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by John Tenniel, 1866.

I very much enjoyed 'Wonder, madness and magic: illustrating Alice in Wonderland with Kristjana S Williams'.

Kate has long been fascinated by Lewis Carroll, choosing the English writer as the subject of her dissertation at St Andrews University, titled "Angels from Heaven: Lewis Carroll’s Photographic Interpretation of Childhood".

The Evening Standard reports:

'She was firstly introduced to Tony Ryan, from the technical services team and was told he recently had the task of carefully moving Canova’s The Three Graces down to its new position in the museum’s sculpture gallery.

“That’s some responsibility!” joked the duchess. He also told her the last year had been “tough” but the staff had been brought back in “bit by bit” and kept in social bubbles.

“I am so glad for you and well done. [on the statue],” said Kate.'

A peek inside the display.

Finally, Kate spoke to a group of staff who shared their experiences from the past year and their delight the doors of the museum are open again.

The Duchess chose a dress by Alessandra Rich today.


The Pleated Houndstooth Silk Midi Dress is described as, "Elegantly tailored with a pleated drop-waist skirt, Alessandra Rich's midi dress is perfect for wearing both in and out of the office. It's made from silk in a two-tone houndstooth motif and complete with an exaggerated collar."


The piece is made in Italy.


Christine suggests Kate's earrings are the £14.50 ASOS gold plated twist hoop earrings.


Another possible suggestion from Christine, the Twisted Sphere Hoop Earrings by & Other Stories. Made in Paris, they retail for just £17.


The Duchess layered her Spells of Love necklace with her Asprey Woodland Charm Necklace.


Kate carried her Mulberry black suede clutch.

Kate's new black suede pumps are the Jennifer Chamandi Lorenzo 105 style with a gold buckle. They are also available in a shorter 85mm here.


The Duchess also wore a black face mask by Amaia Kids.

With thanks to Katie, Elizabeth, Gabi and Christine for their ID work on this look.

************

A very busy week ahead for the Cambridges with news just confirmed the couple will undertake a tour of Scotland tying in with William's role as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Kensington Palace announced:

'In his role as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Prince William will spend a week in Scotland from Friday 21st May to Thursday 27th May. The Duchess of Cambridge will join him from Monday 24th May and together they will visit Edinburgh and Fife, in addition to embarking on their first official joint trip to Orkney. Their Royal Highnesses look forward to meeting a wide variety of people across the country, as well as charities and organisations who are doing incredible work on issues such as the environment, mental health, homelessness and addiction.

The Duke and Duchess will host several events during the week to thank individuals that have gone above and beyond to support their communities over the last year including NHS staff, frontline workers, emergency responders, volunteers, and the military. The Duke will invite emergency responders to watch the Scottish Cup Final with him at a rooftop bar and as joint patrons of NHS Charities Together, the Duke and Duchess will host NHS staff from Scotland at a unique drive-in cinema to watch a special screening of Disney’s Cruella at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.'

A highlight of the trip will be a return to St Andrews University where the couple met almost twenty years ago. It promises to be a packed week filled with engagements. As noted above, Kate will join William from Monday.

************

In other news, another moving video call has been shared from Kate's conversations with Hold Still participants last autumn. Hayley Evans, who took the deeply poignant photo of her grandparents lying side by side in hospital was one of the most emotive photos in the exhibition.

Finally, congratulations are in order for Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. Buckingham Palace confirmed today, the couple are expecting their first child in the autumn.

53 comments:

  1. Great engagement but maybe the worst dress Kate's ever worn. The dropped torso makes her already long torso look even longer, and she needed a belt to create that waistline. I also dislike the shoulder pads and the weirdly low neckline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree. Especially as the V&A has definitely a reputation for elegance when it comes to fashion displays. And that dress ist anything but. Same for the jewellery (two years ago this would have been easily identified as chav style). There is reason the 80s and 90s fashion revival hasn't really gotton into the mainstream fashion (apart from young people and even they mostly wear it as a more sarcastic statement). I really thought she was over this look by now. Hopefully she will return to a more classic and elegant style soon. Kate has the rare ability to look extremly fashionable and youthful in very classic pieces. But she often looks outdated when she tries her hand at more fashionable (as in more out there and niche-y) styles. That dress would look very cool at a sassy 20year old with worn out chucks.
      C.

      Delete
    2. Interesting, I never thought of that. She looks fashionable and youthful in classic pieces but can look outdated in more fashion forward styles. I'll add that often when she surprises with a more edgy style, I don't like it at the moment but looking at pictures years later, I really do. I am not a fan of this dress, perhaps next year I will discover I like it after all!

      Delete
  2. Andrea in London19 May 2021 at 18:38

    I love the V&A, so happy it's reopened! She looks so elegant but I'm not a fan of this dress. It all looks a bit droopy...low collar, low waist, low hemline, as if everything needs to be pulled up. It reminds me of something Princess Diana would have worn. Definitely has 1980s vibes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does look like something Diana would have worn, but I don't mind the dress at all, 80's vibe and all. Aside from the little fit issue in the chest, Kate looks very elegant and pulled together. The new little twists of the necklaces, the earrings, and the gold on the shoe are nice little additions we are seeing Kate flirt with lately. The charms on the necklace are great, think I will borrow that idea. The V&A looks wonderful and so happy it is open. Some of the art featured reminds me of Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, NM, which is an art production company that has immersive multimedia experiences that are very graphic and it's a real visual treat. We can all use some art and visual feasts these days to brighten our feed our minds and brighten our souls! Slowly normal seems to be making its way! Kate is the perfect patron for this.

      Delete
    2. I thought the same thing. Literally Diana might have worn this. Not a fan

      Delete
    3. Surely someone could have put a stitch in between the top two buttons? Even I can manage that with very limited sewing skills. (I often have that problem, being rather more well-endowed than I’d have wanted to be if asked, but I’m surprised to see it with Catherine.)

      Delete
  3. Love the event; love the shoes and the hair. Don't love the dress - it doesn't fit perfectly apart from anything else (looks like it's too small in the chest area). Super excited about the forthcoming tour! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fit is strange. The buttons over the chest are gaping/pulling even on the model photo. Really not a fan of this dress.

      Delete
    2. Yes I thought this too. Hope her style person reads these comments and does better next time!

      Delete
  4. Sarah Maryland USA19 May 2021 at 19:01

    I can’t wait to see them back at saint andrews! I’ll refrain from commenting on her outfit today because I’m not a fan at all. I hate these length dresses. I much prefer her 2011-2012 style.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I must admit that I am always confused by the changing seasons in the UK. We on the East Coast of the USA are already dressed in linen as we anticipated the unofficial start of the Summer season come Memorial Day as temperatures are in the high 80's. Although Kates dress is reported as silk, it just appears to be something more appropriate for early fall in my opinion. I do like the style and am happy that she decided to forgo the belt which had been her go to for many years. I love that Kate is spot on in wearing multiple chains accompanied by tiny charms. Her stylist is today keeping her very current. It is so nice to have the opportunity to resurrect the old charm bracelet and create something new from our old memories. The touch of gold on her shoes bring them to life as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm British but I understand your confusion. Kate often chooses clothes which don't seem to fit with the seasons. I can understand why she didn't get for a stereotypical spring look today though; the weather has been unseasonably cold and particularly very wet and rainy. But Kate's almost gone to the other extreme and is wearing something that wouldn't look out of place at a Christmas party!

      Delete
  6. Exciting royal watching day with an engagement for Kate, news of Beatrice and her husband expecting their first child and a royal tour for Will and Kate next week.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice to see life is going back to normal. It has been such a terrible year for everybody, but there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, we only have to walk toward it. Art is only one of the things people need in their lives. Nice to see the Dss out and about. Nice color dress the style would be better for a coat, OMO.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, what a fantastic event. A day of joy with the re-opening of the museum. Who better to celebrate this occasion than Kate!?! I look at these photos and think "wow, did William marry well or what?" His mother would be so proud of him, in my opinion. She looks fantastic and has the composure and polish of a future Queen Consort. The RF couldn't have gained a more perfect addition. She looks fantastic, and always knows the classic touch as far as fashion. thanks for a wonderful post!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm a little torn over the dress -- it looks really amazing, especially on the top. It might look a bit better if it was a little shorter or the skirt started a bit higher or it was worn a little looser with a belt. It seems a little stretched across the bodice. I love that Kate is wearing multiple necklaces -- that seems new. Very nice shoes!!! I'm very much looking forward to seeing Scotland next week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Allison, I kinda agree with you on the dress. I love the colors and the accessories, but just not a style we're use to seeing I guess. Anyway, she looks beautiful, feminine, and healthy. William indeed must be proud of Kate as she so well represents the royal family.

      Delete
    2. Caroline in Montana20 May 2021 at 16:00

      Allison, i thought all the thins you are saying! At first I liked it and then kept scrolling and the top half just got longer and longer and then the weirdly placed break and then the bottom was also too long. also noticed the stretch at the first button. this would have been great if the dropped waist didn't exist, seems to be a better look for short waisted folks? (like myself) and i wish it was shorter. like the shoed and accessories. she still looks beautiful, just surprised at the ill odd breaks in the dress that dont do her wonderful figure any good deeds.

      so excited for Scotland I could jump for joy, but that would not be the thing to do at my desk at work:)

      Thanks Charlotte!

      Delete
  10. So great to see her out and about! Her hair is getting very long. Personally I like it a little shorter, but she wears the long style well.

    The dress she wore at the previous visit in 2018 is one of my very favorites of hers. Thanks for showing a photo of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the dress from 2018. I think she looks polished in that classic style.

      Delete
  11. Wonderful event. So glad the museums are opening up. Not a fan of the dress and do not think the style works on her. Agree with Andrea who said it is all a bit too droopy on her, the long dropped waist the extra inch of length the puffy shoulders. I actually think on Kate the wide belt shown on the model would have really improved the look.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Valerie in Arizona19 May 2021 at 22:38

    Charlotte, I was so hoping you would post a link to Kate's phone call re the Hold Still photo of the dying grandparents. The photo was so touching and I am sure the publication, and phone call, meant the world to that young woman. I have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed that England will be open to US tourists in September as I have re-booked my year and a half delayed flight to Heathrow. The V & A and Tate are on my to-do list as well as (hopefully) hugging elderly relatives I have never met and was supposed to meet last year. I don't usually comment on fashion but I agree with Allison that I think the dress would have looked less "long" either shorter (duh!) or with a wide belt like the model.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The dress & heels are stunning in the side view. This is a tough style to pull off. I prefer the grey Gucci outfit and the Erdem grey evening dress for V & A visits. Her hair and accessories are nice. What an exhibit! I’d love to visit!

    ReplyDelete
  14. The dress is awful. I’m the same age as her and she needs something more modern.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The Duchess looks lovely, but I am not a fan of this dress, from the midsection down. Love the subtle pieces of jewellery.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I’m going to be the odd one out here, but I really love this dress. I like the length, the color, the pattern, plus her hair and accessories. A total hit in my opinion. Maybe because I’m tall, I really like the look of long dresses. Excited for the tour of Scotland!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll join the little group with you and Anon 13:21 because I love the whole look. I like the way long dresses look on tall, svelte people, just wish I were one of them! :) Can't wait for Scotland, so nice to see some announcements and tours!

      Delete
    2. I love it too! So surprised by those who don't, but to each their own!

      Delete
    3. Zora from Prague23 May 2021 at 15:15

      I'm joining this group too! I liked the dress in the photos and even more when I watched the videos.
      I'm sure Kate loved both exhibitions. What a treat "Curiouser and curiouser" must have been for her! πŸ™ƒWatching the video about the Raphael cartoons, I was in total awe of the weavers' work. How they could do it and still can do it these days is beyond my comprehension!
      I can't wait for the tour of Scotland!! 😍

      Delete
  17. Glad to see a ‘typical’ in person engagement again. But I am so distracted by the dress!! I had a similar one in pink that I thought was so cool(in the eighties, when I was a kid). But this time, I gasped in slight horror! Maybe the red plaid is a nod to the announcement of the Scottish tour?

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a wonderful outing and a fabulous exhibit to highlight. The Duchess is stunning, as always. It took me a moment to get used to this dress, and now I am. A bold and artistically fashionable choice.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Catherine always looks polished and classy. I love the dress and accessories! I could not wear this style but she looks wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Tammy from California20 May 2021 at 04:39

    I love that necklace and looked at it online: those teeny-tiny charms are $4k EACH. Wowzers, they must be made of Leprechaun gold!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. No, this dress is not flattering on her.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love the whole outfit today! So wonderful to see places starting to reopen. Looking forward to see Kate's tour outfits and meeting all the people.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I would love to be able to go to the V& A for this exhibition looks fantastic!! Not so fantastic the DoC’s dress today I don’t like to criticise but it’s just not as good as some of the other looks she has has worn lately. I still don’t get the need to carry a clutch I think it’s probably got nothing in it it just appears pointless to me.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Kate already has a long waist and this dropped waist dress did nothing for her. But wonderful to see her out & about
    Beth in SF

    ReplyDelete
  25. It's so lovely to see Kate out and about again, the visit to the V&A is such a perfect touch especially with her interest in Alice in Wonderland- I'm really looking forward to be able to visit exhibitions and get some much needed culture again. I'm not sure about the dress, I think she pulls it off because of her figure though (I certainly couldn't get away with a dropped wait). Personally, I think the dress would have looked better as a shirt dress without the drop waist, and I'm not too crazy about the colour really. Personally I think it definitely looked better with the belt like on the model. Overall though she looks gorgeous as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think Kate is unmatched for a short swishy skirt or dresses that wrap diagonally, but Vogue said this about her dress, which I thought was interesting. Dress styles come and go every 40 years or so: "With its exaggerated shoulders and drop-waist skirt, it was decidedly more boxy in shape than the swishy, form-fitting dresses she typically gravitates towards. Though it’s a silhouette we don’t see often anymore, it’s reminiscent of the 1930s and ’40s." I thought that was interesting. I saw a photo somewhere of Kate from behind, maybe going down as escalator, and her hair was amazing! It really was so long and beautiful. Occurred to me that we seldom see the RF from behind. And yes those beautiful charms are really expensive! The little mushroom is $7000.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I’m seriously in the minority because I love this dress.

    ReplyDelete
  28. My first reactions to this dress were "this won't be a favorite", 😊. But, upon watching some of the video - it moves quite prettily with Kate! What an interesting engagement, such variety and history in the exhibits Kate visited. I enjoyed this post, Charlotte.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I actually like the dress. I think we're on the beginning brink of these 80s styles coming in fashion. I'm seeing a little less of the flowy seventies things. And the twisted gold hoops are perfectly fitted to this look, she knows what she's doing. She'll be able wear this style and look like a million dollars. It's not for me, but there are plenty of 80s styles that will suit us all!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Susan in Florida21 May 2021 at 17:30

    It’s nice to see the bigger places opening in any nation. A good outing to highlight that people have a place to see nice things. A break from regular life. And Charlotte, you covered so much of the exhibits here, thanks. Someday, when we can travel, I am planning a day at the V&A . I ordered the earrings. There was no space to say I saw them on this blog, but if they do a survey, I will tell them. Sad to say the dress was a miss for the occasion. It would be perfect for December engagements. I was expecting lighter colors for spring, even long sleeves if it was cold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don’t think all countries have the same fashion rules as America. I know in Australia we wear what ever we feel like wearing.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. If black and red are just for December/Christmas, then somebody must tell the Queen, because just the other day she was elegant in red and black and looking quite splendid! Red and black are strong colors and definitely a combination that makes a statement.

      Delete
  31. Marie from France22 May 2021 at 13:40

    The Alice exhibit looks awesome. Kate has, as always now, great hair, for the outfit I like the fabric and the neckline but not the length.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think she looks beautiful and very happy to be back. Looking forward to seeing them both in Scotland next week. Hopefully they will be more welcome this time. Lol. Great to see the museums opening up again.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Kate always looks chic, whether dressed in casual or formal attire. The dress moves gracefully with her in the video.
    It’s lovely to see the V&A open again. I loved the Alice exhibit.

    ReplyDelete
  34. The duchess look more lovely than ever whether it's casual and formal I love the video and it's lovely too see the Alice exhibit and good and calming to see the exhibit

    ReplyDelete
  35. As a former art student, I thoroghly enjoyed this post, Charlotte. Wish I were a little closer to the UK so I could visit the V&A in person, but you've given us a lot of information and visuals here, and links so that we can continue to explore. I hope you and fellow posters are keeping well. Best wishes from Canada's east coast!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Not a fan of the dress!! Drop waist and midi and plaid- nope. I’m happy to see her out at real spaces though!

    ReplyDelete

Comments are most welcome! Constructive discussion is always encouraged but off topic or hateful remarks will not be published.

We ask you use a name when posting (a pseudonym such as the name of a royal you like or anything you wish). If you do not wish to use the sign in options, simply select the "Name/URL" option on the drop down menu and insert your name, and if you wish the country/state you're from. You can leave the URL blank.

If there are a large number of comments, it is necessary to click the 'Load More' button at the end of the comments section to see the latest additions.

Kate's Favourites