Tag: 18th century

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The Storming of the Bastille, detail of T.63-1936 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Bastille Day

Today is Bastille Day! Bastille Day (formally called Fête Nationale in France) commemorates one of the most famous events of the French Revolution – the day when Parisian revolutionaries stormed the Bastille on July 14th, 1789. The Bastille was a royal fortress which commanded the eastern side of Paris and was considered to symbolise the monarch’s despotism. The […]

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‘Cooling Off’, photograph, John Heywood, 1982 (V&A B.146-2013) © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

“Can I Have a Taste of Your Ice-cream?”

With the intermittent bouts of hot sun we’ve been having recently, the sight of children (and some adults!) with ice cream smeared across their faces has become an increasingly frequent sight on the streets outside the museum. Ice-cream and sorbets are now a quintessential part of the summer but it may come as a surprise […]

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Detail from 'Witches' Sabbath', oil painting, Frans Francken (II), Antwerp, 1606 V&A Dyce.3 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Please Touch

For many people the primary way for them to acquire information about objects and the world about them is through touch. For others, tactile experiences help to complete their mental image or understanding of an object. 18th century philosophers endorsed the aesthetic value of touch, considering the tactile experience of handling an artwork necessary to […]

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Come Fly With Me

Last week we decided how to make a putto fly. A putto (plural putti) is a figure represented in art as a chubby male child, often nude and sometimes with wings. This particular putto is a statuette made from limewood which was then painted and gilded. He was made in South Germany around 1755-60 and will be featuring in […]

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Lord Burlington’s Speech

Kent’s success depended hugely on personal relationships. The most important and enduring of these was with Richard Boyle, Lord Burlington, who was his friend, patron and artistic collaborator for over 30 years. I’m sure that 300 years after they first met, Kent would be flattered to think that his name is still tied to Burlington’s, […]

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What’s It All About?

Under normal circumstances I’d have been only too happy to celebrate the Budget with an infinitesimally cheaper pint and bargain game of bingo,  but Wednesday was also an important day in the life of another lover of alcoholic beverages and popular entertainment. That morning ‘William Kent’ was unveiled to the press, followed by the evening’s […]

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The Exhibition Fairies

I probably shouldn’t admit to this, but the curators of William Kent have a lot of extra help when it comes to getting the exhibition up and running. These helpers are industrious, elusive, and a little bit shy (you won’t see their names in the exhibition’s credits) and have such a lightness of touch that […]

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Jumping on the Bandwagon

If any proof were needed about the evocative power of music then I’d be hard pressed to think of a better example than Handel’s Zadok the Priest. Is it possible to hear the swell of the music, the rousing trumpets and the powerful harmony of  voices rising in triumphant celebration without anticipating the drama and […]

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Building the Exhibition

There’s a lot of designing going on in William Kent. The exhibition subtitle is ‘Designing Georgian Britain’, the title of this blog is ‘Designing William Kent’ (meta, I know), and a large number of the objects on display are designs for everything from chandeliers to landscape gardens, from town house ceilings to a royal barge. […]

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Behind Closed Doors: Lifting the Lid on a Royal Palace

After months of anticipation, the V&A has finally gone public with William Kent. We’re officially on the website, tickets are on sale, and posters adorn the (for now, firmly closed) doors of the exhibition space. Top marks for knowing which spectacular marble hall they show: This grand entrance conceals the hive of activity going on […]

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