A long wood lined corridor that’s not on the map contains a rather charming gallery of actors and other artistic sorts.
The exhibition is temporary, and was extended to Monday 27th May, so you don’t have much time to see it — and I would go and see it for two reasons.
Mainly, it’s really rather nice — a long room with modest sized portraits on easels, without any real pretensions or grandeur. The super famous shown in rough hewn paint relaxed and softened by the dim lighting in the gallery.
The paintings are all by one artist, Francis Hamell, and the portraits were commissioned by Cmaeron Mackintosh of people who have all been Visiting Professors of the Cameron Mackintosh Chair of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University (which is quite a mouthfull to say, let alone type).
The post was founded to promote the interest, study and practice of contemporary theatre.
The other reason to visit is simply that this corridor doesn’t exist. As in, I’ve walked down here loads of times and never seen the door open, and it doesn’t appear on the V&A’s own layout map, making it a rather special place to have a peek inside.
The V&A is a bit curious about how it promotes its exhibitions – the blockbusters get publicity, but their smaller, and often just as interesting displays are hard to find out about. I’ve since learned that on each visit, there’s a few places in the building with changeable displays that I check out to see if something new is there.
And today, enroute, I found the hidden corridor, and this lovely display.
Do visit. But hurry, it closes on the 27th May.