Discover Europe's Treasures At The V&A, Reviewed

Europe 1600-1815, V&A ★★★★★

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 22 months ago
Discover Europe's Treasures At The V&A, Reviewed Europe 1600-1815, V&A 5
This fierce statue of Neptune greets visitors as they enter the galleries. Copyright V&A

Neptune staring down at us, trident in hand, is an intimidating sight. This masterpiece by Bernini welcomes us into the newly refurbished Europe 1600-1815 galleries at the V&A.

What follows on from that initial encounter is seven rooms filled with fantastic art, furniture, clocks, porcelain, tapestries and so much more. There are at least a few items in each room that are spectacular.

Highlights include a sculpture of Henry IV on horseback trampling an enemy soldier underfoot and a brilliant recreation of a panelled bedchamber. There are also some truly bizarre artefacts, including the marble head of an ox emerging from a tree stump.

The Baroque period spanned the 16th and 17th centuries so there are plenty of opulent items, such as a massive tabletop water fountain and an almost impractically gilded mirror. It's completely over the top and we loved it.

The V&A is on a refurbishment hot streak, having completed great work on the European cast courts and the Japanese gallery, and this is yet another feather in its cap.

Europe 1600-1815 is on at V&A, Rooms 1-7 — on your immediate left and downstairs from the V&A's main entrance. It's part of the permanent collection and free to visit.

A cabinet of ornate weapons. Photograph by David Grandorge. Copyright V&A

Last Updated 21 December 2015