The Guard Book Project

Portrait of a female by Raphael, pencil drawing, said to be the model for his Madonnas

This project is the digitisation of The Guard Book Archive of Black & White Photographs taken by the Museum between 1856 – 1997. First of all what is a Guard Book?, other terms could be, an Album, Store Book, Scrapbook, Folder, Guard Box, the list could go on, but one word is important, the word Guard, to […]

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Art Auction Catalogue Price Lists

The art market is a financial market. In 2015 it was worth about £41 billion, with around half of that going through public auctions. Prices go up and prices go down but it is a truism that art follows money. A random example, a Malevich self portrait. Bought for £163,000 in 2004 at Christie’s and subsequently sold for […]

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Challenges of treating a Mosquito drop tank

Janna Mostert and Nigel Bamforth adhering Reemay with hide glue

Dr Nigel Bamforth, Senior Furniture Conservator Janna Mostert, Furniture Intern In preparation for the ‘Plywood: Material of the Modern World’ exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Furniture and Wood Conservation Studio treated an auxiliary aviation ‘drop’ tank, a supplementary fuel tank carried by aircraft, loaned by the de Havilland Aircraft Museum for display […]

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Refashioned: Recycling in the V&A’s Textiles & Fashion Collection

Dress, front detail, 1840s evening dress made from 1770s Spitalfields silk brocade

This June saw the 4th annual Hammersmith and Fulham Arts Festival, a series of open events that celebrate the diverse and talented arts community living and working in the borough. Blythe House, the home of the V&A archives and storage facility, hosted a number of behind-the-scenes tours as part of the festival. This included my […]

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Family fun: the design secrets behind Secret Seekers

This is a glimpse into the design process behind Secret Seekers, the V&A’s new game for families, starting with a three day onsite ‘Creative Sprint’ at the V&A and ending at the glamorous launch of the new Exhibition Road Quarter on a balmy June evening. A great game starts with a great brief and the […]

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Heaven in hand

Heaven in hand by Silvia Weidenbach: V&A Gilbert Collection Resident Inspired by the phenomenal treasures of the Thurn und Taxis Collection, Regensburg As artist in residence I am working on the idea of a jewel casket for our time. To do so, I take inspiration from the past. Over the past weeks I have explored […]

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‘Unsurpassed Genius’: Godfrey Sykes and the Royal Albert Hall

terracotta cast

  This is one of a series of blog posts by students of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme, to accompany the ‘Building the Royal Albert Hall’ display at the V&A in Room 127 (the entrance to the Architecture Gallery) until 7 January 2018. It is written by Ruth Sykes.       Godfrey Sykes […]

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Fifty shades of hay: the sketchbook of George Robert Lewis

I recently catalogued an unassuming brown leather sketchbook which turned out to contain a wealth of beautiful drawings documenting agricultural work in the British countryside, including haymaking and harvesting. As we’re approaching harvest time I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share this hidden gem. The title page of the book is signed […]

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100 years of loans: The V&A and The Bowes Museum

From April to July 2017, The V&A loaned two paintings and three prints to the Bowes Museum, County Durham for their exhibition Painting the Stage: Garrick In Action. Assistant Curator, Harriet Reed, visited the museum to find out more about our regional loans programme and the two museums’ historic relationship. A visit to the Bowes […]

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Mattering: Richard Redgrave and the curious practice of drawing on museum objects

Detail of Condition Report: encountering the museum-object, Simon Fleury, 2016.

Simon Fleury, Senior Preservation Conservator ‘Delicate things become objects late on: That is what they have in common with numerous seemingly self-evident things that only mature to the point of conspicuity once they are lost.’1 Richard Redgrave, the first curator of the South Kensington Museum (SKM) as the Victoria & Albert Museum was then known, […]

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