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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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

A Royal mantel clock, Eileen Budd, 2016, London | Eileen Budd

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

EB blog - box clock

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

VandAcoocoofeature image

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

Opificio delle pietre dure, c. 1800, Florence, Italy, museum no. Loan:Gilbert.439-2008 | The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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

Clock, silver and silver-gilt, The Hague, ca. 1665-1670. 
Height 91.6 cm
Museum no. 92-1870

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

Portrait miniature, enamel on copper, London. Mounted into a carved ivory snuffbox.
Inscription on the rim of the box: John the 1st Earl of Spencer. painted by Jean Etienne Liotard. 

Museum no. LOAN:GILBERT.408-2008

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

Snuffbox, gold with mounted hardstones, probably Dresden, ca.1765

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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Royal recycling

Profile of Emperor Leopold I on the bowl of the cup shown below

A Habsburg treasure in the V&A’s new Europe 1600-1815 Galleries When thinking of the collections of early modern European courts, masterpieces displayed in cabinets of curiosities and treasuries come to mind. In the V&A’s new galleries these appear as eternal treasures, pristine and immutable. But not every work was revered as sacrosanct masterpiece. As one of […]

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Photograph of Arthur Gilbert as a baby.
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the V&A.

Arthur Gilbert was born in 1913 and grew up in North London in the first half of the twentieth century. Golders Green, where Arthur lived with his family, was home to a large amount of Jews of Eastern European and Russian origin, as indeed it still is today. Bustling kosher butchers, bakers and cafes abound […]

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