The V&A Research Institute (VARI)

Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation the V&A Research Institute (VARI) is a five-year programme of projects and partnerships, which take the V&A’s pioneering research culture into an exciting new phase allowing the Museum to experiment with new ways of storing, displaying and studying its collections. This blog will give voice to VARI’s team of experts, academic scholars, practicing artists and volunteers.

Back to the blog front page

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 […]

Keep reading

James Leman’s glorious palette – Part 3

Figure 1: Leman design E.1861:98-1991 being analysed with a multispectral imaging system. Photography by Lucia Burgio © Victoria and Albert Museum.

This series of blog entries describes the scientific analysis of pigments and dyes used on the Leman Album designs. As described in my previous instalment of the Leman analysis chronicle, the first MOLAB group came and went at the beginning of March 2017. Three weeks later, the second MOLAB group arrived from the National Institute of Optics […]

Keep reading

James Leman’s glorious palette – Part 2

Figure 1: V&A Science Section population count – updated in March 2017.

This series of blog entries describes the scientific analysis of pigments and dyes used on the Leman Album designs. In March 2017 the population of the V&A Science Section, normally amounting to a meagre 5 bodies, ballooned to a whopping 11 (Figure 1). This was due to a very welcome invasion of MOLAB foreign scientists […]

Keep reading

James Leman’s glorious palette – Part 1

Figure 1: The Leman Album (E.1861-1991) © Victoria and Albert Museum.

This series of blog entries describes the scientific analysis of pigments and dyes used on the Leman Album designs. The Leman Album is a collection of stunningly colourful early 18th century designs for woven silk textiles created by James Leman (Figure 1). It was chosen in 2016 to be the focus of a multidisciplinary research […]

Keep reading

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 […]

Keep reading

Introducing…The Leman Album

The Leman album, an enhanced facsimile, is one of the V&A Research Institute’s (VARI)first ‘named’ projects. Containing some 97 vibrantly coloured designs for woven silk by the second-generation Huguenot émigré, James Leman (b.1688), the designs were produced between 1706 and 1716.   They are the earliest known dated designs for woven silk and at some stage in their lifetime were […]

Keep reading

New VARI international residency opportunity in partnership with Create London

  The V&A Research Institute (VARI) and Create London are seeking nominations for a four-month residency based at Create’s The White House in Dagenham’s Becontree Estate in East London between October 2017 and January 2018. Nominations can be for contemporary artists, makers and designers of any age and nationality based outside of the United Kingdom. Nominators […]

Keep reading

Windowdressing with Palladio the VARI way

This May, in collaboration with Royal College of Art / V&A History of Design students, VARI Visiting Professor Guido Beltramini curated a rotating microexhibition in the window of his office, drawn from the RIBA/V&A collections.  ‘Palladio Drawing of the Week’ was seen by all the visitors to the Research Department at the V&A — the […]

Keep reading

The Influence of the Archive: The Afterlives of Palladio’s Drawings

VARI and V&A+RIBA joined forces for an Architecture Partnership Workshop with VARI Visiting Professor, Guido Beltramini.  Guido Beltramini, Director of the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio, is one of the world’s leading expert in Palladio. During his time with VARI, he will be working on a complete catalogue of the architect’s drawings […]

Keep reading

VARI Professors Beltramini and De Visscher

VARI Visiting Professor Guido Beltramini (left) explains his ‘fake Palladio’ drawing to VARI Visiting Professor Eric de Visscher in the open plan area of the V&A Research Department.  Beltramini had devised the fake drawing as a device to tune the eye of postgraduate students studying the RIBA/V&A collection of Palladio drawings during his five-day May […]

Keep reading