The Factory Presents…

We are a group of cataloguers, photographers, curators and volunteers, nicknamed ‘the Factory’. We are working through the stored collections of the Prints, Designs, Photographs, Paintings and Digital Art sections of the Word and Image department at the V&A, making sure that images and existing data about the items we hold are available to the public via Search the Collections.

These posts are about the objects we come across during our work cataloguing, photographing and curating the Word and Image collections of Prints, Designs, Photographs, Paintings and Digital Art currently in store at the V&A. Anything you see here is available to view in the Prints and Drawings Study Room.

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Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAyC)

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Today’s post is by guest blogger Melanie Lenz, the V&A’s Curator of Digital Art. In this blog entry, posted to co-inside with the 200th anniversary of Argentina’s independence, Melanie explores a small but remarkable number of the V&A’s digital artworks made in Argentina in the late 1960s. The Museum’s extensive collection of early digital artworks […]

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Photographs of Casts: Bedford Lemere’s Royal Architectural Museum Album

Bedford Lemere
Specimens from the cast collection of the Royal Architectural Museum, details from Chartres Cathedral
c. 1872
albumen print
museum no. E.663:9-2016
©Victoria and Albert Museum

From its founding in 1852, the South Kensington Museum (as the V&A was first known) took a leading role in the reproduction of art works to serve as models for artists and designers. As part of this mandate, casts, photography and electrotypes were acquired and commissioned. They were regarded as an essential part of the […]

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Oscar Jennings’ collection of early woodcut initials

Guillard E.3715-1921

In 1921, the V&A acquired Oscar Jennings’ collection of around 24,000 initial letters from early printed books. The collection, which was offered to the museum by Jennings’ widow Cecile, had formed the basis of his 1908 book Early Woodcut Initials. Thanks to our fantastic team of volunteers, we have recently begun to digitise these and make them accessible via the V&A’s Search […]

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Adolphe Bilordeaux: Photographs as Drawing Lessons

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Albumen print of the cast of a hand by Adolphe Bilordeaux

            You may have noticed from my last post that we are currently working through our collection of photographs of sculpture. This set has been my favourite so far – it is a series of photographs of plaster casts of sculpture. The original sculptures the casts were made from date from the Classical era, […]

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John Singer Sargent and Spanish processional sculpture: Guest post

1129-1926

Today’s post is by guest blogger Chloe Sharpe, a PhD candidate in History of Art at the University of York, whose doctorate is funded by the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH). On her PhD placement project, developed within the V&A-WRoCAH partnership scheme, Chloe has been researching Sargent’s collection of Spanish photographs […]

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William Simpson’s sketches from the Crimean War

Caricature of William Simpson from The Bailie magazine, Glasgow, 1874. Museum no. D.62A-1900. ©Victoria and Albert Museum

I have recently finished cataloguing an album of sketches from the Crimean War by the Scottish artist William Simpson. It is a fascinating volume, not only as an important resource from this period in history, but also for the picture it paints of Simpson himself as an artist and a collector. William Simpson was born […]

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East London in pictures: Arthur Villiers’ gift from the Gardner Collection

View of Hackney, engraving by an unknown artist for Walter Harrison’s ‘History of London’, 1775. Museum no. E.4552-1923. ©Victoria and Albert Museum

With the announcement that a new V&A site is planned for the Olympic Park in Stratford, it seems timely that I have just finished cataloguing a set of more than 400 prints and drawings relating to East London. My earlier post about a balloon flight from the Mermaid Tavern in Hackney gave a little taster of the fascinating objects I have been working […]

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William Kineton Parkes and sculptors of the twenties

Frank Dobson (1887-1963)
Photograph of a sculpture  titled 'Susannah'

We are always keen to discover links between objects, so we were delighted recently to find that a collection of photographs we hold connect directly to archival records in the Archive of Art and Design. The link between these involves one man, the art historian, novelist, and librarian, William Kineton Parkes (1865-1938). Kineton Parkes was particularly […]

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Games of War and Grace

e 2655 1953 detail

Guy Tristram Little’s 1953 bequest, which is described in an earlier blog post, The Saga of Letitia and Rachel, continues to throw up intriguing material. Much of what he collected was of an ephemeral nature and not intended to be preserved for posterity. However, that is what makes them so fascinating. Today, I’d like to […]

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