Creating the new Europe 1600–1800 Galleries

The V&A’s collection of 17th- and 18th-century European art and design is unrivalled in its range and quality. The Europe 1600–1800 Project will see the renovation, redisplay and reinterpretation of the seven prime galleries dedicated to this period. In these posts, the Project Team take you behind the scenes, providing an insight into the challenges, developments and discoveries involved in a major gallery project.

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The King Vulture & White Gold

Listening to BBC iPlayer this week, Neil MacGregor from the British Museum reminded me of a vulture! I should quickly clarify that this is not some museum-rivalry based insult, but rather that I was enjoying listening to him in an episode from the series Germany: Memories of a Nation. In the episode Porcelain: The White Gold […]

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This one please!

Selecting Furniture & Sculpture Part III

Suitable for Inclusion? – Some Practical Considerations So you’re a curator with your eye on an extraordinary, dazzling furniture or sculpture object (which perhaps handily belonged to someone famous!) that you would like to include in your galleries. Now you need to consider further practical aspects that might determine whether or not it is suitable […]

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Selecting Furniture & Sculpture Part II

 Continuing on from the previous post … Sculpture The V&A’s sculpture collection is designated the National Collection of Sculpture. It concentrates on Western European Sculpture from the 4th century to the end of the 19th century and comprises of approximately 22,000 objects intotal. Highlights of the collection include masterpieces from the Italian Renaissance, ivory carvings of all […]

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Welcome to Hell!

Looking at the V&A blog page this morning, I can see that Halloween has caught the imagination of a number of fellow Museum bloggers. However, I can’t pass up such an apt occasion on which to introduce you to two of the most gruesome and macabre objects going into the Europe Galleries. Both, fittingly, will […]

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Commemorating the Reformation in ‘ANNO SECULARI MDCCXVII DIE 31 OCT’

Today I bring you a commemoration of a commemoration! ‘IN MEMORIAM SECUNDI IUBILAEI EVANGELICI ANNO SECULARI MDCCXVII DIE 31 OCT[obris] CELEBRATI SENAT[us] FRANCOFURTI F [ieri] F[ecit] I I F’ The text above is found inscribed on a Reichstaler coin set into the base of a beaker going into the Europe Galleries. The inscription translates as: ‘In […]

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Born on This Day: The Bridge Builder

Born this day in 1708,  the French architect and structural engineer Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was admittedly not technically a ‘builder’ but he was the man responsible for the design and construction of many key bridges in 18th-century France. Perronet improved the network of bridges and roads across France, and established the first school for training bridge […]

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It's a bit of a balancing act! Dog balancing on two chairs on the balcony of 5 Princes Gardens, albumen print, Clementina, Lady Hawarden, London, ca.1861. V&A PH.457:330-1968

Selecting Furniture & Sculpture Part I

Today’s post has been prompted by a comment from Robert Thornhill on a previous entry. Robert asked for more information on how and why choices were made in selecting furniture and sculpture objects for the new galleries. I previously described the overall process of selecting objects back in the early days of the blog, but […]

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More Strawberry Thieves?

Today has seen the launch of The Strawberry Thief, a new iPad game developed by Sophia George, former Games Designer in Residence. Sophia took her inspiration from the William Morris textile design of the same name, which is on display in Gallery 125F. Having recently been willing the strawberry plants in my garden to come good with their […]

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‘little meat and a great deal of cabbage and turnips have driven us out of Würzburg … This 22nd day of October in the year 1716′

Large writing cabinets, such as the impressive example below, were often important indicators of a gentleman’s status in the 18th century. This cabinet is a fine example of the best craftsmanship of the period and its large size and intricate detailing indicates the importance of the person for whom it was made. It also held within it a secret […]

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This engraving forms the title page of a volume. It depicts an ancient stone, with a cameo portrait of Giovanni Battista Piranesi in the centre. The portrait is a copy of a self-portrait by Piranesi, copied by his son for this volume. There are Roman engravings both above and below the cameo. Underneath the stone there are several classical motifs, including an armoured soldier, a city plan of Rome, and Roman vases. VA E.3958-1908

Born on This Day: Giovanni Battista Piranesi

In the late-18th and early-19th centuries, increased travel and archaeological discoveries, at sites such as Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, led to a revival of interest in ancient and classical decoration. The work of architect and printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) helped to pioneer this rediscovery of Roman remains and he was one of the […]

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