On Thursday, the Duchess of Cambridge visited the Victoria and Albert Museum to open a new exhibition gallery. She was given a tour of the Exhibition Road Quarter’s new space and wowed by the first public porcelain courtyard that has 11,000 handmade tiles and cost a staggering £54.5 million.
The new exhibition space also includes an underground gallery and a new entrance. Dr Tristram Hunt, a former MP and now the current dirrector of the V&A told the Standard: “The V&A have had connections with Kensington Palace going back to the 1850s.
“It was Prince Albert’s vision, and then Queen Victoria opened the V&A in 1899.”
The Duchess has a degree in history of art from St. Andrews University. Even she was impressed with the exhibition as Dr Hunt explained: “She was wowed by the architecture, the courtyard of porcelain tiles, and she was really interested in the engineering – how we dug down 50 metres, and yet kept the walls upright and did not break a single piece of glassware or ceramics.”
When The Duchess arrived, his daughter, six-year-old Lydia presented her with a bouquet. Dr Hunt continued, saying: “It is a huge day for the museum. It has really revived our original mission – this notion of Albertopolis, spreading out into Exhibition Road, this high-tech science and art campus, linking us with the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, Imperial College, the Goethe Institute, the Institut Francais, all of our friends and partners in South Kensington.”
Amanda Levete designed the courtyard and surrounding area. She said of Catherine’s reaction to first seeing the porcelain courtyard was that she was “stunned.” She arrived just as the sun came out.
“She arrived just as the sun came out.
“The courtyard was glistening, and the brightness of it just lights up the elevations of the V&A, and you see the museum in a completely different way. It feels very contemporary.”