Tag: 17th century

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Personal favourites: from a previous volunteer’s point of view

Nef Gilbert Collection

The article below was written by Alexander Morrison who volunteered with us for two months last year and helped us greatly with our travelling exhibitions programme. Alex graduated from Manchester University with a BA in History Of Art, and is about to start an MA in Russian History of Art at the Courtauld Institute. Although his […]

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The Curious Case of the Ox and its Brain


Head of an ox; Marble statue of the head of an ox on a tree trunk, (North Italy) probably Padua, about 1650-1700
2nd half 17th century
Marble and wood.
In a report dated 6 February 2015, analysis of the wood identified it as an alpine pine, probably Pinus cembra.

Today’s post is simply to express my glee at seeing new photographs of what will be one the galleries’ more unusual inhabitants. This late 17th-century sculpture depicts the head of an ox, in white marble, resting on a section of a tree trunk that was carved from a number of pieces of wood. The skull […]

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A Collector of Secrets. Sir Balthazar Gerbier (1592-1663) in cultural diplomacy and the arts

Engraved portrait of Sir Balthazar Gerbier, engraving by J. Meijssens after Antony van Dyck (1599 - 1641);
17th century. Museum no. E.1298-1888 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

  The Middleburg-born Huguenot Balthazar Gerbier (1592-1663) excelled with a vast career spanning from the various arts, the world of diplomacy to that of a courtier and spy. Many scholars have explored various aspects of Balthazar Gerbier’s roles as an artist, collector, scribe, cryptographer, agent, colonist, pamphleteer or architect. Few, however, have brought these activities […]

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Born on This Day: Ole Worm – collector extraordinaire

worm crop

‘… [your] name and glory is not only renowned among one people and nation, but across the earth, wherever scientific and learned studies are practised and honoured.’ These rather adulatory words were penned to describe today’s ‘born on this day’ star, Ole Worm, the Danish physician, professor, antiquary, and collector extraordinaire born in 1588. As well as […]

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Lighting up the Studio


Last week a colleague mysteriously encouraged me to pop my head into the Photo Studio, for a ‘nice surprise’. Not knowing quite what to expect, I arrived to find Metalwork Curator Kirstin and Senior Metals Conservator Donna in the final stages of assembling the rather stunning chandelier which will be part of our Louis XIV display. To enable […]

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Exploring the Edge: The Significance of the Marginal

1.	Hans and Ambroise Holbein, ‘Folly Descends from the Pulpit’, marginal drawing in a copy of The Praise of Folly by Erasmus, pen and black ink, 1515, Kunstmuseum Basel

We love thinking about all kinds of material traces at the V&A – even those that might seem taboo, like writing, or even drawing, in books. Current History of Design MA student, Alicia Farrow, tackles a recent research paper by the V&A’s Head of Research, Professor Bill Sherman, which celebrates what might seem to be […]

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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day No.44


The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day No.44 St.James today, established in 1676 this is the oldest hat shop in the world. It is run by James Lock’s descendants to this very day. It is where the bowler hat was invented. They have supplied headwear to many historical figures including Sir Winston Churchill, Charlie […]

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17th Century Modern Materials


A while back I was given six small samples to analyse – nothing unusual about this till I looked at the images of the object that the samples had come from and immediately had grand notions of treasure hunting for the Holy Grail with Indiana Jones! These thoughts were soon followed by me humming ‘knights […]

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The Ballet of Apollo (plus some incredible costumes!)


Today in 1621 the Ballet d’Apollon (Ballet of Apollo), also known as the Ballet du Roy (the King’s Ballet), was first performed by the Ballet de Cour of Louis XIII. This costume design for role of Apollo the Shepherd in the Ballet d’Apollon will feature in the Europe Galleries’ Music display. The costume consists of a […]

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Searching for Don Quixote in the NAL

Frontispiece to 1620 version of 'Don Quixote' NAL: Dyce 2000. ©V&A Museum.

In Spain, there are efforts afoot to discover the exact location of the grave of one of the country’s greatest writers, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Despite the instant popularity of his masterpiece ‘Don Quixote’, he died in poverty and was buried somewhere in the Convent of Trinitarians in Madrid, but the exact location is unknown.  […]

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