Gilbert Gems

The Gilbert Collection, which was formed by Sir Arthur and Rosalinde Gilbert in the 1960s, is now on long term-loan at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Sir Arthur, who was the main driving force behind their acquisitions, believed that the objects needed to be looked at through a magnifying glass to truly reveal their charms. The collection includes masterpieces in gold, silver, mosaic and enamel. Many are set with dazzling diamonds. To us, even those that do not feature precious stones are gems in their own right. Here we will share our observations and gems, personal and universal, with you. In addition, fellow curators, conservators, technicians, loans officers, etc. from both the V&A and partner institutions will contribute to this blog. Do join us for a behind-the-scene tour of the Gilbert Collection, looking closely at the people who shape(d) it, but also at the various stories behind these precious objects.

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The Hero of Two Worlds: Lafayette and his Commemorative Vase

                      After listening avidly to the soundtrack of the multi-award winning musical Hamilton: An American Musical, one of my colleagues discovered a surprising link between the much anticipated show (soon to be opening at the West End!) and one of the most extravagant and monumental […]

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A Snowstorm from Mar-A-Lago

A snowstorm from Mar-A-Lago As Donald Trump’s latest quote from the Dining Room at Mar-A-Lago hits the ether, I am reminded of a snowy scene which used to adorn the walls of that Florida home and now forms part of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This Tuscan landscape […]

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James Cox’s magical clocks

Sensing Time, our conference held last month with the Science Museum, challenged us to think about clocks in new ways and to understand them as the complex objects they are. Inspired by the conference, this blog examines two timepieces made by Londoner James Cox in the 1770s. Both objects contain horological mechanisms, and yet both cannot […]

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Sensing Time: a royal mantel clock

Over the last weeks the forthcoming conference Sensing Time on 18 June 2016 has been the subject of several blogs in our series. Places for the event are still available (download the programme here). Please do call the V&A booking office on 020 7942 2211 to secure your place at the special blog offer of £15. Online […]

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Mindful of Time

Inspired by the themes of the forthcoming Gilbert Collection Study Day Sensing Time, illustrator and V&A member of staff Eileen Budd created a series of line drawings of clocks and watches that will be discussed by curators during the event. Her drawings are an equally careful study of the masterpieces in the V&A’s collections, and an invitation to you to join in their exploration, […]

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Time for Time

by Charlotte Johnson, Assistant Curator   Time seems straightforward. It is a constant part of our everyday lives; when we look at the time on our smartphones’ lock screen, when we glance down at our watches, even when watching intently as the seconds count down to the ping of the microwave. Clocks and watches have […]

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365 Gold Boxes

New V&A Pinterest Board Sir Arthur Gilbert was born on 16 May 1913, today would have been his 103rd birthday. The collection he and his first wife Rosalinde created is now at the V&A and comprises around 220 glorious boxes and related masterpieces. From late 2016 you will once more be able to enjoy these […]

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Sensing Time: The Art & Science of Clocks and Watches

Join us on Saturday 18 June in the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre at the V&A for ‘Sensing Time: The Art & Science of Clocks and Watches.’ This interdisciplinary study day, co-convened by the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection and the Science Museum will bring together expertise from curators, conservators, and makers. To help whet your […]

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The Missing Miniature

Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-89) originally trained as an enamellist in Geneva, but he is perhaps best known today for his wonderful half-length portraits in pastel. He painted an enormous variety of people, from members of his own family, to esteemed contemporaries such as Voltaire and David Garrick, as well as various members of European royal and […]

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Gilbert Gems to look forward to: 2016

A very happy 2016 from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection This chimney sweep box was probably made in Dresden, Germany. Chimney sweeps have long been considered a symbol of luck in German culture and therefore popular around New Year’s. The tradition pays tribute to the vital service chimney sweeps offered through the centuries. After all, a well-swept chimney kept fire […]

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