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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Victorian Valentines

Are you looking forward to Valentine’s Day? I ask because this is one of the few holidays the mention of which is as likely to be met with a snort of derision as a sigh of anticipation. As Valentine’s Day is often accused of being a so-called ‘Hallmark holiday’, invented (or at least perpetuated) by […]

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Bookplates

Bookplates, also called ex libris, have been pasted to the inside front covers of books since the advent of the printing press in the mid-fifteenth century. Though they were also used in public libraries, I find these small printed works most interesting when they are used by individuals to assert ownership over their prized works […]

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Horsing Around

This week we are celebrating Chinese New Year, ringing in the Year of the Horse. The recent acquisition of Joey has put all at the V&A in a rather horsey mood, providing The Factory yet again with the perfect opportunity to search through the Word and Image collection, and pull out some of our finest […]

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Burns Night

It is soon to be Burns Night, providing The Factory with the perfect opportunity to dig out some of the best Caledonian-related objects in our collection, and provide a little party inspiration. Burns Night is a delicious celebration held on the25th January, celebrating the life and works of the Scottish poet Rabbie Burns. The merriment […]

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Something old for the New Year…

Today I ‘d like to share with you something old from the collection, which rarely gets a chance to claim the limelight – brass rubbings. In the interest of honesty, I will admit that when I started to catalogue all of the brass rubbings the Museum acquired in 1934, the subject did not thrill me. […]

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Christmas in the Factory

The countdown has begun. The tree is up (come in to the Museum and see it, it’s incredible), the Christmas scones are available in the staff canteen and the Christmas cards are being handed around the office. The cards. The V&A holds the national designated collection of greeting cards. Part of this is a sterling […]

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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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Easter Bonnets

Fancy some last minute inspiration for your Easter Bonnet? These six lithographs come from a series of eighteen of beautiful women in fantastical costumes representing various aspects of Paris. They were created in about 1910 by an artist signing himself simply as ‘Laviny’. We yet don’t know much about him, but he clearly had quite the imagination!

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