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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Photograph of Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming : Bibliophile

Ian Fleming died fifty years ago on 12 August 1964, succumbing at the age of 56 to what he termed the ‘Iron Crab’ of heart disease, after a life spent with the same intensity as his enduring hero James Bond. The character shares most of his creator’s enthusiasms – cocktails, casinos, the Caribbean, scrambled eggs, […]

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Lovat drawing crop

A Poppy for Claud

When artist and illustrator Claud Lovat Fraser enlisted in the army in 1914 he had already established himself as a young man with a fine career ahead of him. After a year at Westminster School of Art where he counted Walter Sickert amongst his tutors, he set up a small publishing house with some friends […]

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V&A Illustration Awards 2014 Winner Announced

Last night saw the presentation of the 2014 V&A Illustration Awards, and we are pleased to announce that Helen Musselwhite was chosen as our overall winner. Helens’ winning work was entered for the Editorial category and accompanies an article in Dance Gazette by author Audrey Niffenegger called, ‘Ten Myths of Creativity’ which explores the ups […]

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V&A Illustration Awards 2014 Shortlist Announced

We are very excited to announce the 2014 shortlist for our annual V&A Illustration Awards. This year our judges included two Art Directors, Gary Cochran from the Telegraph and Peter Dyer from Profile Books, joining them was our very own Director of Design, Moira Gemmill.   To choose our Student Award winners were illustrator and […]

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Sharing Stories for Mother’s Day

Mother’s day is this weekend; a time for family gatherings, and maybe for sharing old favourite stories that have been passed down between generations. It brings to mind a book of old spooky stories we have in the National Art library that was put together by a mother and her son. ‘Legendes Rustique’ was written […]

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Getting to Know You: National Art Library Reader Survey

The National Art Library is freely available to anyone who wants to use its resources: other than the need to show some identification, all are welcome without restriction. Generally speaking, our users are students, academics, art market professionals and the V&A’s staff but every day brings new faces to the reading rooms. So, how does […]

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Pearls: Piety, Poetry and Pre-Raphaelites – Part Three

In my previous posts I looked at how the medieval poem ‘Pearl’ was understood by the medieval mind and also how it was rediscovered and represented in the 19th century. In the early 20th century it showed itself again to be an enduring image of loss and consolation. Pearl was published again in 1918 in […]

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Pearls: Piety, Poetry and Pre-Raphaelites – Part Two

In my first blog I looked at what a contemporaneous audience would understand in the medieval poem Pearl. Despite its beauty and intricacy the poem did not enjoy the fame of those written by contemporaries such as Chaucer. The poem was not published or widely available until in 1864 when it was the first work […]

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Pearls: Piety, Poetry and Pre-Raphaelites – Part One

When I heard that the V&A was putting on an exhibition about pearls, I could not help but think of the beautiful 14th century poem known as Pearl. In the poem a man pines for a lost pearl. He falls asleep and has a dream vision, a common occurrence in medieval poetry. He sees a […]

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The Vogue Archive and the National Art Library

Did you know that the National Art Library (NAL) subscribes to The Vogue Archive which can be accessed by visitors within the NAL Reading Rooms? The Vogue Archive database contains the entire run of American Vogue from 1892 to the present day. It is fully searchable and comprises high-resolution colour page images of the work […]

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