Victoria and Albert Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL, UK

10am to 5.45pm daily, 10am to 10pm Fridays

One of London’s most charming museums, the V&A has a fantastic collection of objets d’art from the Middle East, including the famous Ardabil carpet and some excellent Iznik tiles. As the leading museum of fashion and design it mounts exhibitions of the work of contemporary creatives from around the world. The UK’s most eclectic museum also has among its 3 million items a child’s head (pictured below) from the 3rd-century AD Sidamara Sarcophagus, which resides in the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul. It was taken from its original site in Konya province by Sir Charles Wilson, Britain’s Consul General in Anatolia, who unearthed it in 1882. He wanted eventually to secure the sarcophagus, but intended the head to be reunited wherever the sarcophagus fetched up. The V&A has never been against its return, but legal hurdles have so far kept it in Britain.

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