The National Art Library

The National Art Library section brings you news about exciting new service developments, throws a spotlight on our collections, displays and research projects and provides information about electronic resources with ‘tips and wrinkles’ for making the most of them.

The National Art Library (NAL) is a reference library, open to all visitors. The collection covers the fine and decorative arts, design and art history and contains books, periodicals, auction sale catalogues, exhibition catalogues, electronic resources and other formats of material. Amongst the treasures are artists’ books, illustrated books, fine bindings and rare and unique manuscripts.

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A Feast Fit for the Last Tsar

When Nicholas II was crowned as Tsar in an elaborate coronation ceremony on 26 May 1896 he was not to know that his abdication in 1917 would end the Romanov dynasty that had ruled since 1613. In the Prints and Drawings collection we have a memento from Nicholas’ coronation – a beautifully decorated menu from […]

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V&A Illustration Awards 2017 Winners Announced

On 16th of May, at a ceremony and private view here at the V&A, the winners of the 2017 V&A Illustration Awards were announced. The winner in each category received a £3,000 cash prize as well as a trophy and a certificate. As overall winner of the 2017 competition, A. Richard Allen is the recipient of the […]

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V&A Illustration Awards 2017 Shortlist

With just over two weeks to go before the winners are announced, the judges of the 2017 V&A Illustration Awards have whittled down the entries from nearly a thousand to just three in each category. On the 16th of May we’ll find out the winners of the awards for:

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Library Bank Holiday Closures in the Merry Month of May

A reminder to all our users that the National Art Library will be closed for the two bank holiday weekends in May: Closing at 18.30 on Friday 28th April, and re-opening at 10.00 on Tuesday 2nd May. Closing at 18.30 on Friday 26th May and re-opening at 10.00 on Tuesday 30th May. You can order your […]

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Identifying Friends and Enemies in Soviet Russia

The V&A’s display ‘Another Russia: Post-Soviet Printmaking’ features work made by Russian artists after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 when art was no longer strictly controlled by the government. For most of the 20th century, art in Russia was used for propaganda and expressing the ideology of the state. In the 1920s, […]

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National Art Library Easter holiday 2017

The National Art Library will be closed for the Easter holiday from 17.30 on Thursday 13 April.  We will re-open at 10.00 on Tuesday 18 April.  If you place an advance order after 16.00 on Thursday 13 April, your items will be available by 12 noon on Tuesday 18 April. Wishing all our readers a lovely […]

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‘A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints’ – A Review

‘A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints’ is an ambitious exhibition. It sets out to explore the complex issues of gender identity, social status and sexual relationships in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). It surpasses these objectives and provides a forum for discussion on gender identity and non-hetronorm ideologies. The exhibition’s title ‘A […]

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The Cabinet of Curiosities: Reflections on modern art historical thinking

Portrait of Elias Ashmole

If you, like me, are curious about cabinets of curiosity, the inaugural Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Lecture on the history of collecting was a key date. Given by esteemed art historian and authority on the history of collecting, Professor Paula Findlen, it was South Kensington’s hottest ticket. If you were disappointed not to get one, […]

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Regional Art Auction House Sale Catalogues in the National Art Library

The National Art Library collects catalogues from the world’s major auction houses as well as others that cover the collections of the V&A Museum. Art auction houses mirror the developments and trends in the art collecting world, changing focus, subjects, locations and identity. Sotheby’s Belgravia was opened to meet the demand for Victorian paintings and furniture […]

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Anatomy for artists: John Tinney, Stephen Francis Rigaud and one “R.H. Nash”

Following on from my earlier post about provenance, here is another volume with an interesting owner. The book is ‘A compendious treatise of anatomy’ by John Tinney (1706?-1761). As the full title makes clear, it was designed for the practising artist, providing just enough anatomy to give an understanding of the visible structure of the […]

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