Tag: 19th century

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An Imperial Playhouse: The Gilbert Collection’s Russian micromosaic jewel casket re-identified

CIS:Loan:Gilbert.220-2008

On 4 March 2015 I gave an illustrated lunch-time talk at the V&A on Russian Country Houses which was well received and well attended. Afterwards, Katrina Warne, a regular visitor to Russia, identified the micromosaic scene on the Gilbert Collection jewel casket which I had illustrated as a view of the Gothic Priory at Gatchina. […]

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Lighting up the Studio

Picture3

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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Planning a Royal visit: traffic management and crowd control in 1899

Leaving Buckinham Palace

Traffic management and crowd control were uppermost on Sir John Donnelly’s mind when he sat down to dictate a memo to the Vice President of the Committee of Education on 20 April 1899. The foundation stone laying ceremony for the new museum buildings at South Kensington was only four weeks away and Donnelly was concerned […]

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From quiet garden to world class gallery: a brief history of the Exhibition Road site

Exhibition Road Gardens

The year is 1899 – The rise of Albertopolis is in full, dramatic swing, and South Kensington is quickly becoming a stronghold for the decorative arts, science and culture in Victorian England. The Natural History Museum sits proudly over Cromwell road, South Kensington tube station is bustling with travellers, and the majestic Brompton Oratory presides […]

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A Romantic Frame of Mind

Honiton lace veil, 1865 © V&A Collection

As well as placing the bride in a slight state of mystery for her groom as the ceremony commences, a wedding veil flatters and frames the woman’s face. As in all aspects of wedding wear tradition, a veil must balance style with symbolism. As the ideal of a well to do young bride in white […]

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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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Power Dressing: Siam, Burma, China and the Tai

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.

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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Figure Training

Flexura Boots  ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

 “From the earliest periods of the world’s history down to the present day it has been found necessary to employ systems of restraint and correction calculated to adapt the unformed and unfashioned figure”. Figure training or art the handmaid of nature by EDM was published in 1870, partly as a vindication of altering the human […]

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Stained Glass on Paper: Morris & Co. and the Pre-Raphaelites

The finished panel. Museum no. C.317-1927.

[Stained glass] is a very limited art and its limitations are its strength. (Edward Burne-Jones, 1897) The qualities needed in the design […] are beauty and character of outline; exquisite, clear, precise drawing of incident. (William Morris, 1890) In my previous post, I looked at some early stained glass designs, and mentioned how the established techniques […]

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A Wander among the Tombstones

Design for a gravestone for Caleb Hill by Philip Webb, 1888

Anyone who came to this page hoping for some shots of Liam Neeson looking menacing in a corduroy coat, please click here now. To anyone still reading, I thought Halloween was a good time to introduce you to some unexpected objects that keep popping up in the work of 19th-century architect-designers… Designs for tombstones. Philip […]

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