Creating the new Europe 1600–1815 Galleries

The V&A’s collection of 17th- and 18th-century European art and design is unrivalled in its range and quality. The Europe 1600–1815 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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Music to our ears – the Boissart mandore


It is always rather rousing to hear how museum objects can inspire, inform and entertain people in such a variety of ways. I’m particularly interested in when historic objects instigate or influence the making of a contemporary piece. This meant that last week I was very pleased to receive an email from Ian Pittaway letting […]

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Art and Science in Amsterdam


Following her visit to Liège, Project Curator Liz Miller has once more brought back some interesting new insights from her travels. —- On the 17th and 18th September 2015 I was fortunate to attend an international conference in Amsterdam on Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries (1560-1730), jointly organised by Huygens Institute for the History of […]

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So what’s been happening?


As the impending opening date suggests, the project has very definitely moved into a new phase since the days we were only allowed to go on site in guided groups, sporting hi-viz, helmets, steel toe-caps, goggles and gloves. Since then, the architectural features of the original Aston Webb interior have been restored; the main structures […]

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Last few days to see the reunited Ommegang

One of the marshals © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

2015 is the 400th anniversary of the ‘Triumph of Archduchess Isabella’ in the Brussels Ommegang, which took place on 31st May 1615. To record the 1615 Ommegang, Isabella commissioned the artist Denys van Alsloot to produce six paintings depicting the entire procession. Only four of the original six survive, two being in the Prado in Madrid […]

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August in Liège

Drummers of 2015 © Liz Miller

Today we have a guest post from Liz Miller, one of the Europe Galleries Curators, recounting how a recent holiday to Liège called to mind some key features of the project. ———– The Belgian city of Liège lies about an hour by train to the east of Brussels. Even on holiday there is no getting […]

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‘Mde de Maupeou prays Mr Barbier to give the courier thirteen aunes of cloth … ‘

38041800167801 Letter from a series of Letters & Orders addressed to M. Barbier - Marchand de soie de la famille Royale & to his partner Tétard; French (Paris); c.1755 - c.95. National Art Library

Mde de Maupeou prays Mr Barbier to give the courier thirteen aunes of cloth following the selected sample; he would also like to put them on his bill. Ableiges 31 August 1789   Mde de Maupeau The Europe Galleries will boast a display dedicated to ‘Silks’. Considering the progression of 18th-century silk fashions ‘from design to […]

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Presenting The Globe

THe Globe - European Gallery's - This installation by the Cuban art collective
Los Carpinteros (The Carpenters) is a response to the theme of the Enlightenment. 26th June 2015

Some of you may have seen press reports in recent weeks, announcing the installation of ‘The Globe’, an exciting contemporary commission in the Europe Galleries. The Globe is a curved architectural sculpture made from a lattice of engineered beech that forms a ‘room within a room’. Whenever I need to visit the galleries (as part of […]

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Installing the period rooms

Art Referee’s report by M. Digby Wyatt, 22 April 1869 (V&A Archive of Art and Design: MA/3/31)

The first objects to be installed into the Europe galleries were the period rooms, which are now all fully built. There are three period rooms in the galleries – a 17th-century painted French room, a late 18th-century Italian mirrored cabinet and a late 18th-century Parisian cabinet. When the old galleries were de-installed, each of these […]

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Drinking to the Shoemakers


With Shoes: Pleasure and Pain now in full swing, I thought it was about time to raise a drink to the shoemakers of 17th and 18th century Europe! Across Europe, drinking alcohol was deemed essential for the good health and harmony of society at all levels. Rituals, such as toasting and drinking games, were performed […]

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A Proud and Posturing Great-Grandfather


Images of Louis XIV played an important role in celebrating, commemorating and promoting his power. Many survive on decorative objects, charting his life from cradle to grave. Almanacs (a type of calendar) were often used to depict the heroic exploits of Louis and his family with illustrations and verses depicting wars, royal weddings and births […]

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