So I've developed another unexpected theme to my tourist visits - Henry VIII history (hence my surprisingly appropriate icon). After managing to get a ticket for the exhibition at the glorious British Library, I pootled along yesterday morning and spent a glorious two hours looking through all of the material on display. While the exhibition was very well displayed, I did find the explanation did seem to lack information that I assume is considered 'general knowledge' so the people making up the displays clearly didn't feel that they had to show any of it. But it would have been nice to see any information about the way Henry felt about his wives during his marriages to them, rather than only in the time while he was wooing Anne Boleyn.
However the thing I loved most was something that everyone else seemed to ignore completely. There was a small collection of six texts that made up the arguments by which the King would consider changing Britain from a Catholic to a Protestant country so he could marry Anne (okay, so I know it wasn't that simple, but it's not 7am yet, so I'm not going into detail ;-). Around the walls were a collection of important literary pieces that inspired the six central texts. In front of each of the main six, there was a button. When that was pressed, a line of light lit up the text and then ran across the floor to one of the secondary texts to show which text had been the inspiration for Henry's writing.
The thing I really loved, though, was that when the line of light appeared, a silhouette of Henry was also cast onto the floor. Each of the six silhouettes moved
! One pointed out a source text a nodded approvingly, one took off and put on one of Henry's hats, one bowed, one stabbed at you with a small dagger - they were absolutely brilliant! Very clever, lots of fun to look at, and I still can't understand why more people didn't pay any attention!
After leaving the Library, I'd planned to go to the V&A and the Natural History museum, but as I was heading for the Tube, I saw an advertisement for the Dressed to Kill Exhibition at the Tower. So, with a rapid change of plan, I headed for the same place as most of the other tourists in London yesterday (or that's what it felt like) to buy tickets for the Tower. I was actually very pleased to go because I haven't been to the Tower since 1997 and I'd forgotten what a glorious place it is, tourists and all. I love the historical feelings you have walking through the various buildings. And the Henry exhibition was fascinating - a number of his suits of armour and information about the various activities Henry would have participated in, in particular jousting and hand-to-hand combat.
So with those two visits and my planned visit to Hampton Court Palace on Saturday, I'm going to be well and truly knowledgeable about that whole era by the time I head for Berlin on Sunday. Unexpected, but very nice indeed!ETA:
I should perhaps have mentioned that last night shining_moment
and I had a lovely dinner and glorious chat about all things Doctor Who and LJ and other things last night. Sorry for omitting it in the first place, Clare! *g*