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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Saint Cecilia in V&A collections

Ventura Salimbeni, Virgin and Child with the martyred Saint Cecilia and angels, detail © V&A Museum, London

Very few works by the Italian artist Stefano Maderno (1576-1636) survive and his fame rests primarily on the sculpture of Saint Cecilia in the church of Santa Cecilia in Rome, made when he was 23. The sculpture was commissioned by Paolo Emilio Sfondrati (1560-1618) who opened the sarcophagus of Saint Cecilia. Through the inscription beneath, […]

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Where to put your lowly medieval bottom

MSL/1910/2385 folio 2 r, Book of Hours (the Margaret de Foix  Hours), France, ca. 1470. © V&A Museum.

In my previous blog we saw how chairs are used as signs of power and status. In this blog I will look at other types of seat on which to place on your (more lowly) medieval bottom Medieval houses were generally sparsely furnished so it is not surprising that very few examples of medieval furniture […]

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The Real Game of Thrones – Medieval Seats of Power

MSL/1902/1649 folio 78 r, Book of Hours, French, ca. 1425. © V&A Museum.

Fans of Games of Thrones know how impressive an important seat of power can be. This is also true in medieval manuscripts where images of thrones feature often when depicting earthly and heavenly rulers. You don’t, however, always need a fancy throne like the Iron Throne of Westeros to show your importance; any chair with […]

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Get Connected in the NAL

wifi icon

The V&A’s National Art Library has its own WIFI hotspot exclusively for members of the library. From your own device, you can now access the museum’s range of electronic resources including the VOGUE ARCHIVE, JSTOR, Oxford ART Online, ARTSTOR and the Art Sales Index.

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V&A Illustration Awards: Interview with David McConochie – winner of the Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year prize

FBOGS

What is David McConochie’s secret? In the space of a year, he’s bagged two prestigious illustration awards and a lucrative commission for The Folio Society. He’s just been crowned Winner of the V&A Illustration Awards and to mark the opening of the 2016 Illustration Awards display, I caught up with David to find out more […]

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National Art Library late May bank holiday weekend closure

A reminder to all our users that the second bank holiday in May will soon be upon us and that the National Art Library will be closed for the weekend.  We close at 18.30 on Friday 27th May, and will re-open at 10.00 on Tuesday 31st May. You can order your items ahead of your visit for […]

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Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Kitty-in-Boots

Unfinished illustration for The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, 1914. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, with kind permission from the owner

Cats feature in several of Beatrix Potter’s best-loved tales. Tabitha Twitchit and her cousin, Ribby, are models of respectability but Tom Kitten is prone to scratching and the tailor of Gloucester’s cat, Simpkin, spits and growls – ‘I don’t consider cats thoroughly domesticated animals’. When the young Peter Rabbit encounters a white cat flicking his […]

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HOW TO WIN the V&A Illustration Awards! An interview with the judges

2016 VILLA shortlist

It’s an enduring mystery of art competitions: what exactly do the judges want? As the shortlist for the V&A Illustration Awards is announced, I caught up with the judges of the Student Prize, Rafi Romaya & Ruth Prickett, & quizzed them on their choices, trends in illustration & their views on why Student Competitions matter.

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National Art Library bank holiday weekend closure

A reminder to all our users that the National Art Library will be closed for the bank holiday weekend from 18.30 on Friday 29th April, and will re-open at 10.00 on Tuesday 3rd May. You can order your items ahead of your visit for when we re-open: advance orders received after 16:30 on the Friday will […]

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Copying on Trial

UScan UF-Series Universal Film Scanner

Our regular readers may have noticed that we are currently trialling a new piece of microform scanning equipment in the NAL reading room: the UScan UF-Series Universal Film Scanner. The UScan UF-Series can read, scan, print and save images from a wide range of film media such as roll microfilm, microfiche and slides. Digitised images […]

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