Research

Research is a core activity of the V&A, and it grows out of our original commitment to advancing the arts and sciences that shape the world around us. The Research Department works with experts throughout the Museum and a wide range of external partners in increasing access to and understanding of the collections in our care, helping to make the world’s oldest and largest museum of art and design a leading centre for object-led learning at the interface between history, theory and practice.

The Research section of the V&A blog will offer progress reports and provocations, sneak previews and glimpses behind the scenes, from people working on and in our collections.

Image: Pair of suede shoes, made in England, 1950s. X-ray image by Paul Robins, Object Number T.12-1990. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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The Best Seat in the House: Interior Design Fashions at the Royal Albert Hall

Formal dining in a Grand Tier box, 1980s

This is part of an ongoing series of blog posts by students of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme, composed to accompany the ‘Building the Royal Albert Hall’ display on view at the V&A in Room 127 (the entrance to the Architecture Gallery) until 7 January 2018. Here second-year student Karen Morton discusses changing fashions […]

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SOUND IN MUSEUMS (2): What About Musical Instruments?

Museum No: D.2253-1885

  Musical instruments are complex and often composite objects, both decorative and functional. They are the result of historically regimented assemblages, with conflicting properties between material and acoustic qualities. Foremost, they are relational objects, geared towards the performer and the listener. These qualities are difficult to feature in museum situations, which means that visitors are […]

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Doing Things Twice: Exploring a V&A Lafreri Volume

Detail of print within Lafreri volume

Report of a Discussion on the Boundary between the Cataloguing of Books and the Cataloguing of Bound Volumes of Prints by Elizabeth Miller Since the publication of Adam Bartsch’s, Le peintre gravure, in Vienna, between 1808 and 1828 made it the standard reference work for cataloguing many European  prints, the cataloguing of prints and the […]

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Betty Ratcliffe: a Unique Eighteenth-Century Designer

Elizabeth Ratcliffe, Pagoda, 1767

This post is by guest blogger Mélissa Evans, a recent graduate of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course. The following object study draws on research from her dissertation and marks the 250th anniversary of Betty Ratcliffe’s pagoda at Erddig Hall: Imagine the year is 1767. Betty Ratcliffe has just completed her pagoda model.[i] It […]

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Painting the Royal Albert Hall Red

The interior of the Royal Albert Hall on a state occasion, 30 May 1874.

This is part of an ongoing series of blog posts by students of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme, composed to accompany the ‘Building the Royal Albert Hall’ display on view at the V&A in Room 127 (the entrance to the Architecture Gallery) until 7 January 2018. Here second-year student Karen Morton discusses some of […]

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SOUND IN MUSEUMS by Eric de Visscher, VARI Visiting Professor

What's Your Favourite Sound?

Hearing, together with its active component, listening, is a means by which we sense the events of life, aurally visualize spatial geometry, propagate cultural symbols, stimulate emotions, communicate aural information, experience the movement of time, build social relationships, and retain the memory of experiences Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter, Spaces Speak These were among the […]

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Designing the Dome of the Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall, photographed in 1872, V&A 73273.

This is part of an ongoing series of blog posts by students of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme, composed to accompany the ‘Building the Royal Albert Hall’ display on view at the V&A in Room 127 (the entrance to the Architecture Gallery) until 7 January 2018. As part of her research for the display, […]

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From the Royal Albert Hall to the Victorian Home: The Many Uses of the Magic Lantern

The Monarch Ethopticon Bi-Unial Magic Lantern

This is one of a series of blog posts by students of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme, written 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. Following on from the frieze around the 244 metre circumference of […]

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History of Design Students Discover What Made Palladio’s Architectural Drawings Unique

The oldest and largest surviving architectural drawing on papyrus which shows a shrine (c. 1300 BC), now in the Petrie Museum

As part of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA students were invited to participate in a week-long workshop entitled ‘Faking Palladio’ with Guido Beltramini, the director of the Palladio Centre in Vicenza, who in the Spring was based in the V&A’s Research Department, as one of the inaugural Mellon Professors, attached to VARI. In this […]

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DesignLab Nation: hidden connections

Emmanuel Cooper (1938-2012), Striped Dish, 1970, stoneware with black and white slips under bone-ash glaze, CIRC.490-1970 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Written by V&A/ University of Brighton, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Student Joanna Weddell The V&A recently announced that it will use the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 prize money to fund DesignLab Nation, a programme to support design education in secondary schools, working with local museums, initially in Coventry and Blackburn. This blog […]

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