Ella Ravilious

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Butterflies

The Natural History Museum, our neighbours across the road, have opened their Sensational Butterflies exhibition – an outdoor attraction packed with live butterflies. As I sit here at my desk, I see the NHM flag flying above the roof, fluttering in a brisk wind, and it struck me that we have our own sensational butterflies here, too, captured in drawings and paintings and prints. They may not be live, breathing specimens, but I think they're none the less fascinating for that.

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Neither printed, painted, nor drawn…

Not everything in the Prints, Drawings and Paintings collection is printed, drawn, or painted. This post showcases a few of the exceptions to the rule. One of the most popular alternative image-making techniques was cut-paper work. In the eighteenth century, cut-paper pictures were called “shades”, or “profiles” if they were portraits. Although neither term has endured in common usage, cut-paper portraits are now usually called ‘silhouettes’.

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Introduction to the Factory

One of the real privileges of working at a place like the Victoria and Albert Museum is being able to see behind the scenes and come across fascinating things by chance.

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