Victoria and Albert Museum

The world’s greatest museum of art and design

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10.00 to 22.00 Fridays

William Newton

Author: William Newton (Assistant Curator)
Although it’s only two days now until it’s time to celebrate the birth of the Saviour by wrapping pork with pork, I have found that my Christmas spirit is not what it was three weeks ago. To avoid Christmas 2013 becoming a total humbug, and to deflect any notional suggestion that I might also be a humbug, I shall make one final effort to drag myself, mince pie by mince pie, toward...
Author: William Newton (Assistant Curator)
Season’s greetings! I know you’re probably all busy sitting on the Christmas cake or whatever it is you have to do, though if I may steal a few of your rested festive moments, which I see you are spending in front of the internet, to encourage you to consider exactly what it is that makes Christmas so Christmassy. Christmas tree decoration, crushed velvet, Holywell Designs,...
Author: William Newton (Assistant Curator)
If there’s one thing that working at the V&A has taught me, it’s that established systems can prove to be robust and to have great constancy. Having conceded that fact, my pattern and formula for this week's festive post might in part seem a little familiar. woven silk toy, Marth Edlin ca. 1670, museum no. T.449-1990, © Victoria & Albert Museum, London How many swans...
Author: William Newton (Assistant Curator)
Friends have been proclaiming for weeks an infatuation with sherry; a love so regular one could rely on ones calendar to inform on its ascendancy and decline. We feel that nagging guilt of unfulfilled resolutions, made so sincerely hours into 2013, and yet neglected like living herbs for the past eight to eleven months. That guilt has hit us full-force, and so we remake them. This morning when I...
Author: William Newton (Assistant Curator)
If you’re reading this, then you can probably guess how difficult it must be to interpret, unlock and care for the collections of the V&A. The amazing eclecticism and range possessed by our objects means that public access to objects and resources, and the provision of information about them, is of great importance if they are to be well-understood by our visitors. In addition to...
Author: William Newton (Assistant Curator - Department of Furniture, Textiles & Fashion)
After half a decade in the making, this week the Department of Furniture, Textiles & Fashion welcomed its first public appointments at the Clothworkers' Centre. A mixture of students, scholars and workers from the heritage industry have viewed, amongst them, Ethiopian Imperial robes, 1930s underwear, 19th century embroidered samplers and the Tailor of Gloucester waistcoat. Toward the...
Author: William Newton (Assistant Curator - Department of Furniture,Textiles & Fashion)
V&A objects are not kept just within the hallowed halls of the Museum. Over six hundred objects from the Furniture and Woodwork collection are on long-term loan to other institutions, ranging from a fifteenth-century cupboard in Oakwell Hall, West Yorkshire; to an eighteenth-century box of cutlery to Judge’s Lodgings, Lancaster; to an automaton shaped like a bird cage to the Bath...
Author: William Newton (Assistant Curator - Department of Furniture, Textiles & Fashion)
Some of our more contemplative readers might be interested to learn that the Clothworkers’ Centre will also be home to more than eight-hundred pattern books and swatches. The majority of these are held by the Textiles and Fashion section, though there will also be a good number from our colleagues in the Asian Department. The preparation of these books for travel and storage presented a...
Author: William Newton (Assistant Curator - Department of Furniture, Textiles & Fashion)
I covered headwear a couple of posts ago, so logically it must be time to turn our sartorially-peckish peepers to the ticklish bases of our pillars of flesh and blood and bone: the feet.VERY natty boots (T.110:1, 2-1993) © Victoria & Albert Museum, London The V&A’s shoe collection is very large and very expansive. It represents over two millennia of methods we humans have used...
A selection of mannequins in North Court Store
Author: William Newton (Assistant Curator - Department of Furniture, Textiles & Fashion)
A selection of mannequins in North Court Store. © Victoria and Albert Museum, LondonPossibly the greatest benefit of the move to Blythe House, at least from the point of view of managing the collection, is that we are able to organise objects along more logical lines. Earlier this month I conducted a visual audit of our women’s twentieth-century fashion collection, with a view to...

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