With contributions from all sections of the Department, we intended to highlight current projects and research carried out by the Conservation Department at the V&A, including work on exhibitions and displays currently on show at the Museum and touring throughout the world.

The Conservation Department is responsible for the preservation, conservation, investigation and display of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collections, ensuring that they are safeguarded for present and future generations. Combining expert knowledge of science, the history of materials and techniques and practical proficiency, underpinned by scientific analysis, staff carry out research, assessments and practical conservation treatment on objects.

In addition, Conservation staff interpret the processes of deterioration, and evaluate provenance, authenticity and the restoration history of V&A objects. The Department consists of ten studios and four Conservation Sections (Paper, Book and Paintings Conservation; Sculpture, Metalwork Ceramics and Glass Conservation; Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Conservation, and Conservation Science). It covers all collections held by the V&A, including the Theatre and Performance collection, the Archive of Art & Design, the National Art Library and the Museum of Childhood.

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Guest Post: Echoes of Michelangelo – Personal Observations on Drawing David’s Nose

The first attempt slightly further along. Image, Kurt van der Basch.

Kurt van der Basch is a freelance storyboard artist. His film credits include Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Cloud Atlas, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I was experiencing a Michelangelo mini-obsession when Victoria & Albert museum conservator Johanna Puisto e-mailed me about her blog project on the cast of David’s nose asking if I’d like […]

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Follow your nose – Brucciani’s plaster casts of the face of Michelangelo’s David as object lessons for art education

Brucciani 1906 Catalogue Detail

Dr. Rebecca Wade is an Assistant Curator of Sculpture at Leeds Museums and Galleries/Henry Moore Institute The plaster reproductions of the fragmented features of Michelangelo’s David may appear strange to our eyes, but as highly portable reproductions of perhaps the most recognised sculpture of the Italian renaissance they occupy an important place in the history […]

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How David’s nose left his face and multiplied

Plaster cast of David's noseby Brucciani & Co. London. Image, George Eksts © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

One day while I was searching the V&A’s collections database of Michelangelo’s art, I stumbled upon a peculiar item – a solitary plaster nose from the statue of ‘David’. Since I’d had first-hand experience in cleaning and examining the nose of the Museum’s full-scale replica of David (which still has a nose!), I wondered who […]

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Advanced Works Project: Auditing the Theatre and Performance’s Costume Collection

A little bit of Hollywood at Blythe . . . This Advanced Works blog post will focus on the V&A’s wonderful Theatre and Performance collection with a specific focus on the BFI (British Film Institute) costumes and objects stored at Blythe House. This archive lives within the V&A’s celebrated collections of fashion and stage costumes in the Theatre and […]

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The Guard Book Project – A Sculpture in the Making

Statue - Mankind, by Arthur Eric Rowton Gill (1882 - 1940), Hopton Wood Stone, 1927 - 28.

In our sculpture gallery is an item, Loaned to us by The Tate Gallery, (LOAN:TATE.161-2006) Mankind; Carved Hopton Wood Stone; by Eric Gill (1882 – 1940). Here on display. …but here in the Guard Book as it was being carved, in his studio in 1927, with the small reference model next to it. With the […]

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The Guard Book Project – Snapshot of More Reflections

Mirror in a carved wood frame, English; 1730, from Cumberland House.

This is the first of some small snapshots of items of interest that the Guard Books of black & white negatives are finding.. Remember these…. in a previous blog I mentioned the reflections both intentional & unintentional… Early photographs of mirrors in the 1850s,   Mirror with carved & gilt frame, Venetian; by Charles Thurston […]

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Advanced Works Project: Photographing Complex Textiles

The InterContinental Hotel Tapestry by Archie Brennan During the early works of the decant, the Advanced Works team have been lucky enough to handle and photograph some very interesting objects that are stored in the Clothworkers’ Centre at Blythe House. One requisition that stood out in particular was to assess, measure, and photograph a seven piece tapestry that would […]

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James Leman’s glorious palette – Part 3

Figure 1: Leman design E.1861:98-1991 being analysed with a multispectral imaging system. Photography by Lucia Burgio © Victoria and Albert Museum.

This series of blog entries describes the scientific analysis of pigments and dyes used on the Leman Album designs. As described in my previous instalment of the Leman analysis chronicle, the first MOLAB group came and went at the beginning of March 2017. Three weeks later, the second MOLAB group arrived from the National Institute of Optics […]

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Advanced Works Project

Early days & Interesting Finds A blog dedicated to the discoveries and interesting finds during the decant of Blythe House . . . As most know, the V&A will be vacating Blythe House by the end of March 2023. The Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum Group and the British Museum all store artefacts […]

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Guest Post: David at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Full view of PAFA’s David. Image courtesy of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Author Professor Al Gury is Chair of the Painting Department at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts In 1805, a group of gentlemen in Philadelphia founded what is now America’s first and oldest art museum and art school, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). Their first action, even before having a beautiful […]

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