I love the British Museum but for some reason don’t go there often enough. I guess it’s because in London we are spoiled with so much to do. There are theatres, galleries and things like the London Book Fair, which I made a fleeting visit to last week. (I’ve written about LBF before here, so I shan’t bore you with a report this year).
|With The Englishman outside the British Museum|
But the Vikings exhibition at the British Museum caught my eye. With a Nordic ancestry, I just had to go and see it. The exhibition was quite booked up, but I managed to get a 7 pm time on a Friday, and so dragged my Englishman along.
With a popular show you get crowds, and I must admit that having to queue up to see the artefacts in the first rooms did take away from the enjoyment of seeing the show a little. However, it is clear from the bits I did see, that those ancestors of mine had very good taste. There were intricate pieces of jewellery, swords and even decorative pieces for horses reigns.
Someone said it was like looking at a Habitat display from a thousand years ago. But then this friend of mine got chatted up by a tall, blonde Scandinavian type, on a visit to London to check out his Viking forefathers, so she might have been a bit starry-eyed by the time she told me about the exhibition. But I digress.
The coup d’etat of the show is the huge Viking boat in the final room of the exhibition. It’s part iron model, part actual pieces of wood found in Denmark. With the videos, texts and more artefacts, you realise that, though there was quite of lot of raping and pillaging, the Vikings also ran a kind of very-ahead-of-its-time cultural exchange programme.
And although I wasn’t chatted up by a real life modern Nordic God (The Englishman might have objected), I would not have missed The Vikings at The British Museum for all the bronze coins in Jutland…
Vikings – Life and Legend
06 March – 22 June 2014
Great Russel Street
Booking is essential: http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/vikings.aspx