Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On the road again: London, day 4


I have to get up to head to the airport in about four hours, so I'm afraid I'm going to shortchange you today on both pictures and text.

Most of today went to a long visit to The British Museum. When in a short blog post during my sabbatical I called the Louvre the ultimate home-court advantage, I should have qualified that statement by limiting it to painting.  When it comes to ancient artifacts and sculpture, nothing can touch the British Museum.  The place is huge, and the collection is unrivaled, at least in my experience.

Visiting it again did lead me to have many different types of feelings.  On the one hand, many artifacts were immensely moving.  For example (despite what I said, I'm going to indulge in one picture), I found this thousands-of-years-old preserved man deeply moving the first time I saw him years ago and just as powerful today.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

From time to time, I read or hear people talking about how death was cheaper and easier in earlier times, but I don't buy it.  People cared for this ancient guy.  Death has always hurt us, and it always will.  We have always railed against this final night, and we have always suffered when those we love pass away. 

An entirely different and more complex feeling was the one I could not avoid having as I wandered a collection made possible in large measure by the colonialist attitude of, "Hey, that looks nice:  Pack it up!"  I appreciate the preservation that resulted, and I was its beneficiary today, but I expect the locals felt rather differently. 

After the museum, dinner was a late tea at Harrods.  I opted for the fancier tea, which a security guard who gave me directions characterized as "all singing, all dancing" and then as "fancy" when I clearly didn't understand the first description.  It was quite delicious.

The evening's entertainment was an absolutely wonderful new play, Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense, at the Duke of York's Theater.  The three-man show featured Matthew Macfayden as the perfect butler Jeeves, Stephen Mangam as upper-class-twit-of-the-year Wooster, and Mark Hadfield as Seppings, another butler.  The men played various other roles as well in a broad comedy that never let up. 

As I said above, tomorrow, which starts for me all too soon, I travel.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would love that museum! What an incredible artifact. Thank you for sharing!

Mark said...

It is an absolutely amazing place.

Griffin Barber said...

Cairo's museum is pretty spectacular, too.

Mark said...

Though I have never been there, I believe it must be fantastic.

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