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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John Pasche, Artwork for the Rolling Stones lips and tongue logo, 1970. Museum no.S.6121-2009 © Musidor BV

Object Pitch Day 5 – Friday 10 October – part 2

Let’s pick up where we left off: half way through a packed Object Pitch Day 5. 20 minutes in and four pitches down, we were thoroughly warmed up, ready for yet more fantastic object-led research. It was back to Bill Sherman and his stopwatch…. OP5/05 After the interval, we began with another repeat object, as […]

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Kinky Boots

This article is written by Joanne Pilcher, a volunteer on the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition and student on the V&A/RCA History of Design course. In my role as a volunteer for the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition I have been going through the acquisition files for all of the shoes and other objects that will appear […]

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André-Vincent Vielliard, Sèvres Porcelain Factory, soft-paste porcelain saucer [detail], painted in enamels and gilt, 1784, France. Museum no. C.114-1972 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Object Pitch Day 5 – Friday 10 October – part 1

By Object Pitch Day 5, we were over half way through the process and edging ever closer to our impossible decision. Our call for V&A staff to make their case for one object above the many had, again, resulted in a packed programme of great objects and even better ideas. (Reflecting the high number of […]

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Drug jar [detail], tin-glazed earthenware, Italy, 1593. Museum no. 5402-1859 © Victoria and Albert Museum

Object Pitch Day 4 – 1 October 2014

As we settled down for Object Pitch Day 4, we knew the score: it was going to be another hour packed with great objects and great ideas, making the choice of just one object for the project all the more difficult. It was over to Bill Sherman and his stopwatch… OP4/01 Reino Liefkes, senior curator […]

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Model, China, 1790-1800. Museum no. 9346(IS) © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Object Pitch Day 3 – 16 September 2014

By Object Pitch Day 3 we all knew the rules, and the competition was certainly hotting up. Nine members of V&A staff made their cases for an impressive array of objects, from Katy-Perry-brand false eyelashes to the ironwork cross that once crowned the screen at Salisbury Cathedral. With every pitch as good as the one […]

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Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire, photograph by Mike Harris. CC-BY-SA-2.0

Manners of Building: Architectural Style in England, 1550-1750

by Melissa Evans, MA candidate, V&A/RCA History of Design Some clichés are ubiquitous. Take ‘Home is where the heart is’ – it’s one of those sayings where, once you start to look, you find it everywhere: from cushions, plates and plaques in gift shops, to sachets of lavender, embroidered samplers and biscuit tins.  These objects, […]

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V&A/RCA History of Design Programme announces new award for 2015/16 admissions

The Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars The Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars/Mark and Sian Dalrymple Award for Historical Manufacture and Production in the Decorative Arts The V&A/RCA History of Design MA Programme is delighted to announce a new award for 2015-16 generously supported by The Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars and Mark and Sian Dalrymple. This […]

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Postcard Teas, London. Courtesy of Postcard Teas

1660 LONDON Tea Cup Connoisseur Set: Visit to Postcard Teas

Early in December, Jana and I went on a curatorial research trip to Postcard Teas, on Dering Street in London’s Mayfair district. It was a cold, drizzly afternoon and the shop became the perfect oasis away from the noisy crowds and ceaseless hustle of nearby Oxford Street. It occupies a small space and has a […]

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Illustration 7. Siamese noblemen in typical Siamese court attire of Indian silk brocade, pha yearababh, long sleeved shirt and lower garment, phanung chongkraben, which could be Indian silk brocade, Indian chintz or Cambodian ikat. This dress is to be worn with seu-krui or full-length coat of gold thread embroidery. Inventory number M28/00024. Photograph courtesy of National Archives of Thailand.

Power Dressing: Siam, Burma, China and the Tai

by Lupt Utama, MA candidate, V&A/RCA History of Design I grew up in the mountainous city of Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand where Myanmar and Laos meet. As a young boy, I vividly remember my grandmother’s elaborate cotton pha-­sin – a tubular skirt which she secured with a chainmail silver belt, to be traditionally worn […]

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‘The Ommeganck in Brussels on 31 May 1615: The Triumph of Archduchess Isabella’ [detail], Denys van Alsloot, Belgium, 1616. Museum no. 5928-1859 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Object pitch day 2 – Friday 12 September 2014

Object pitch day 2 took place on 12 September and was another successful event showcasing a wide range of objects put forward by members of staff and featuring very different reasons for pitching these objects for the ‘A history of an OBJECT in 100 worlds’ project. This was also a very ‘meta’ session including a […]

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