News and Updates

Take a look at what goes on behind-the-scenes in the world’s leading museum of art and design. From bestselling exhibitions to hidden gems in the collections, learn about our latest projects, ideas and discoveries.

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Taylor’s Architectural Library: imprints, reprints and dating the undated

I explained in an earlier post how the National Art Library catalogue, like most library catalogues, contains records of varying quality and detail. For some purposes, a brief record may be sufficient, serving as an indication that a particular text is held, but often it can be misleading. Here is an example of a catalogue record, […]

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The Guard Book Project – A Resource for Research

Portrait miniatures submitted for appraisal in 1939.

Well… I never knew that….. This digitisation project is providing a unique opportunity for various areas of research about the museums collections, the history of the building, exhibitions, activities, and items that were here for a short period of time for displays, or appraisals, and those that left the building never to be seen again, with examples in this blog, of […]

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Exploring how to order a museum’s digital collections

How would you categorise a museum’s collections, so that users can find what they want? ‘Average’, ‘Fair’, ‘Good’ and ‘OK’? It’s safe to say this suggestion from our remote user testing didn’t make it to our final list of categories. Here’s how we went about rethinking our online collections page. So what’s the issue When […]

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Technical examination and conservation of a reverse glass painting by Thomas Gainsborough

Wooded Moonlight Landscape with Pool and Figure at the Door of a Cottage (P.33-1955) Thomas Gainsborough, 1781-82

Marine Andrieux Student Placement, Paintings Conservation ‘Wooded Moonlight Landscape with Pool and Figure at the Door of a Cottage’ (P.33-1955) was painted on a 31 x 37 cm sheet of glass by Thomas Gainsborough in 1781-2 (Figure 1). This oil transparency is part of a series of 10 reverse glass paintings created by the artist […]

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What the Writer Saw: Remembering Joe Orton

August 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the untimely death of playwright, Joe Orton. Curator of Printed Books, Dr Beverley Hart, looks back at Orton’s controversial career. Monday 27 February 1967: In South Kensington, admired the architectural splendours of the Science Museum and the V&A. Joe Orton’s diary entry is followed by the approving verdict […]

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Photography and the Creation of the Royal Albert Hall Mosaic Frieze

Detail of the Royal Albert Hall’s mosaic frieze, showing the section Agriculture by H. Stacy Marks. Photography by S. M. Harris

This is one of a series of blog posts by students from the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme to accompany the ‘Building the Royal Albert Hall’ display at the V&A in Room 127 (the entrance to the Architecture Gallery) until 7 January 2018. It is written by Susan Harris. When visiting the Royal Albert Hall, […]

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Illustrating the Process is a Process

Museum Outside the Box illustration by Eileen Budd

One of my responsibilities as Project Manager for VARI, is tracking and documenting the progress of our projects.  I’m a big fan of the classics for this; spreadsheets and report writing, but its always struck me there are some things these methods miss out on. We often talk about projects as if they are clockwork objects, you simply look […]

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Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s self-portrait: a forgotten loan

Photograph of Self-Portrait of Lourens Alma Tadema

The other weekend I visited the Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity  exhibition (7 July – 29 October 2017) at Leighton House Museum. Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836–1912) was a Dutch-born artist who settled in London in 1870 following the death of his first wife; he is best known today for his striking renditions of opulence and excess […]

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Parallel Worlds 2017 – a videogame design conference

parallel worlds 2017

In Collaboration with London College of Communication Saturday 30 September 2017, 10:30 – 17:15 Book Online – £25 full price, £20 concessions, £15 student What does it take to build a world? We’re pleased to announce that Parallel Worlds, the V&A’s conference dedicated to videogame design and culture, will be returning Saturday 30 September 2017. […]

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The Land of OZ: Cataloguing the Felix Dennis OZ Archive

Archive Assistant, Alice Ridgway, gives an introduction to the Felix Dennis OZ Archive and the challenges in cataloguing the collection. Earlier this year the V&A Department of Theatre and Peformance acquired the Felix Dennis OZ archive. Felix Dennis was the co-editor of the underground magazine published between 1967 and 1973. The magazine was renowned for its […]

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