Of the many rooms in museums, it is often the ones lurking in corners unseen by most visitors that offer oasis of sadly overlooked calm.
Within the British Museum can be found the Chinese Ceramics Gallery, sitting close to the much busier Japanese rooms, but strangely ignored by most visitors.
Some 1,700 items — dating from the 3rd to the 20th century — are laid out in neat modern glass boxes with arrays of tiny spotlights that are so much better at making objects shine than big bulbs ever can.
A room full of ancient Chinese ceramics is going to have the obvious blue-white decorated ware that instantly screams “MING!”.
However that was a very small bit of their output and much of the room contains plates and bowls that wouldn’t look out of place in a branch of Habitat. Except that these delicate specimens are hundreds of years old – at a time when English potters were still working with thick brown clays.
You don’t need to be an expert in pottery to appreciate this quiet gallery, and if nothing else, it offers a relaxing respite from the crowds and noise of the rest of the museum, while also educating a bit about the different Chinese dynasties.