Part 5 in our series of articles inspired by Orhan Pamuk’s novel The Museum of Innocence brings us to London. In a city known for its many world-class institutions, we take a closer look at three small personal museums.
Fashion and Textile Museum, London
This fascinating museum is located in the heart of Bermondsey, a former industrial and merchant district in south east London known in the 19th century for its famous factories and markets for leather, hide and wool. Founded by iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes, the center explores fashion, textiles and jewelry, in a colorful building designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. A great exhibition showcasing the textile designs of Austrian-born architect Josef Frank runs until May 2017.
Florence Nightingale Museum, London
The Florence Nightingale Museum celebrates the life and work of the world’s most famous nurse – the Lady with the Lamp. It’s located on the banks of the Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament, and has a collection of almost 3,000 artifacts, including the Turkish lantern used in the Crimean War, the writing slate she used as a child, the medicine chest she took to the battlefield, and Athena, Nightingale’s beloved pet owl.
Sir John Soane’s Museum, London
“After wandering through its gorgeously cluttered, crowded rooms and admiring his arrangement of the paintings,” wrote Pamuk’s protagonist Kemal, ” I would sit alone in a corner, listening for many hours to the noise of the city.”
The historic house, museum and library of 19th-century, neo-classical architect Sir John Soane is an intimate, atmospheric place, designed by Soane himself, and filled with his collections and personal effects, architectural drawings, models and examples of furniture and decorative arts. The house has been left untouched since his death – almost 180 years ago – making it a very intimate museum indeed.
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