No wanderings in London’s South Kensington would be complete without a visit to the Natural History Museum… if only (when time is tight) to have a(nother) look at the dizzying array of plants and animals sculpted in buff and cobalt-blue terracotta that adorn many of the building’s surfaces.

From the Natural History Museum’s website:

Terracotta tiles provide decoration inside and outside the building. Many feature relief carvings of plants and animals. The buff and cobalt-blue terracotta is both attractive and practical, as a hardy material that could resist the acid smogs of Victorian London.

In his design, Alfred Waterhouse included elaborate sculptures of plants and animals on the interior and exterior of the building, to represent biological diversity. Those on the western wing are of living forms, while those on the eastern side show extinct creatures.

Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London – designed by Alfred Waterhouse 1865 – 1881 (when it opened)