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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day No.87 Bank Holiday Weekend. Up until now that could only have meant only mean one thing – DIY.  Although this weekend is one of the most significant in the year for DIY retailers as British families look to bring out their BBQs and work on their […]

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Painting by Numbers?: An 18th Century Flower Show

Ferdinand Bauer, Iris Germanicus, watercolour on paper (MS. Sherard 245/70) © Bodleian Library, University of Oxford 2015

As the Chelsea Flower Show draws to a conclusion tomorrow, and the masses return to their own gardens inspired, it’s worth looking back to the 18th century, to the golden age of botanical exploration and to an artist who was arguably the finest botanical painter in history – Ferdinand Bauer –  and how expertise at […]

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All that glitters (part 2) …. is most definitely not all gold!


A few weeks ago Rosemary posted a blog about Indian textiles which incorporate metal or metal wrapped threads (April 23, 2015). She was very careful not to mention what the metal was because we have been in the process of analysing the composition, so in this follow up post I will tell you what we […]

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10 things we’ve learnt from a history of an OBJECT in 100 worlds

‘Your Victory Jumper’, knitting pattern, published in Home Notes magazine on 2 June 1945. Archive of Art and Design © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

With the last of the Object Pitch Days on the blog, and before the next stage of the project is announced, it seems an opportune moment to take stock of what we’ve already learnt from a history of an OBJECT in 100 worlds… 1.Never ever lend anything to Tony Robinson (aka Baldrick from Blackadder). Ken […]

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Trench coats: from real mud to Nostalgia of Mud

Raincoat 'Witches' 1983 Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren Given by David Barber, in memory of Rupert Michael Dolan T.268:1, 2-1991 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

‘Rustic’ linen smock-shirts were worn by farmhands well into the 19th century. These garments were woven in such a way that they would shrink and tighten when damp, giving them a degree of water resistance: this is also the principle on which gabardine works. Gabardine was invented by Thomas Burberry, who patented it in 1879. With […]

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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day No.86


…and finally the candlestick maker… From Stamford Hill to Notting Hill – Westbourne Grove today. London you never cease to amaze me in the mix of people that live here. Unbelievable that a shop can survive selling pretty much just candles! 195 Westbourne Grove, W11 ©Barnaby Barford 2014

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Calling all budding historians of design! Bursaries available for V&A/RCA MA History of Design, 2015/16

St Jerome in his Study, stained-glass panel, Germany, ca.1550. Museum no. 537-1907 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  A unique opportunity for funded MA places on the Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art MA in History of Design in 2015/16 only, supporting students who could not ordinarily afford postgraduate education. The Postgraduate Support Scheme (PSS) is aimed at encouraging widening participation for UK and EU students entering MA study directly from […]

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Behind the Scenes of my Shakespeare Course

A view of Shakespeare's Macbeth on stage at Covent Garden, mid 1760s, Unknown Artist, Italy c.1570 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This is a guest post by Dr Enza De Francisci who is currently preparing a Shakespeare and Italy course at the V&A supported by the University College London-King’s College London Collaborative Learning Fellowship in the Arts, Society and the Humanities Sometime last year, I came across an email advertising a Collaborative Fellowship in Learning in […]

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Digital Textile Design


By guest blogger Jacqueline Colley Create! Digital Textile Design took place at the V&A on 2nd May 2015. Designed and led by textile designer Jacqueline Colley, a group of eight students from the young people’s programme worked as print designers for the day creating repeat patterns for fashion and visualising their designs in garment sketches. […]

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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day No.85


The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day No.85 …The Baker…. 182-184 Stamford Hill, N16. Kosher Bakery in Stamford Hill, an area particularly known for its 30,000 Hasidic Jews, making it the largest concentration of Haredi Jews in Europe. ©Barnaby Barford 2014

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