Tag: 19th century

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Sent to Nottingham: the diary of a nineteenth-century curator (2)

 “5th JuneInterview with Mr Richards and Mr Fussell long discussion with them about the room in which the collection should be placed opposed Mr Fussell’s plan of placing in the back or work room, saw other members of the committee – and it was finally settled that the collection should be exhibited in the Library […]

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Introducing Enthoven

It is now 90 years since Gabrielle Enthoven’s gift of 80,000 playbills, engravings, photographs, manuscripts and books was accepted by the museum after a decade-long campaign. In life Enthoven was indefatigable, had a considerable public profile and a gift for publicity that earned her the nickname ‘the theatrical encyclopedia’. Since her death she has become […]

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Sent to Nottingham: the diary of a nineteenth-century curator

While looking through an accession of records deposited by the National Art Library in the V&A Archive I came across a diary written by a member of staff who was sent to Nottingham with a travelling exhibition in 1865. In it the writer records his time in Nottingham, including the routine tasks of writing object […]

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Cleopatra’s Needle

The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne,Burned on the water: the poop was beaten gold;Purple the sails, and so perfumed thatThe winds were lovesick with them; the oars were silver,Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and madeThe water which they beat to follow faster,As amorous of their strokes. So Shakespeare imagined […]

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Happy Birthday Honoré!

Today we celebrate the birthday of the lithographer Honoré Daumier, born on 26th February, 1808. A staunch republican, he produced over 4000 lithographs in his lifetime, chronicling, commenting on, and, most importantly, sartirising the tumultuous nineteenth century French politics and society he lived and worked through. His exposure to four different political regimes, namely the […]

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Victorian Valentines

Are you looking forward to Valentine’s Day? I ask because this is one of the few holidays the mention of which is as likely to be met with a snort of derision as a sigh of anticipation. As Valentine’s Day is often accused of being a so-called ‘Hallmark holiday’, invented (or at least perpetuated) by […]

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Definitely not ‘Point-and-Click’: Photographing the Raphael Cartoons in 1858.

In one of the V&A’s stores, kept particularly cold to preserve them, are a collection of rather unusual photographic works that I have been intrigued by for some years. They are twelve collodion glass plate negatives made in 1858 by Charles Thurston Thompson (1816—1868), the V&A’s first photographer. These negatives were used to document the […]

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Victoria and Albert Museum – what’s in a name?

Few museums in the world can have traded under as many names as the V&A in the first 50 years of their existence! The iconic building that we recognise today as the V&A opened in 1909; however, the museum can trace its physical footprint at South Kensington to 1857, and its intellectual roots to 1837. […]

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Unseasonal Greetings

Did you know that the V&A’s Word and Image Department holds a large collection of greetings cards? Browsing through these on Search the Collections can certainly get you into the holiday spirit. You will, of course, spot holly, mistletoe, beautifully decorated trees, and more than a few presents. But perhaps at Christmas time, the usual […]

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Queen Victoria’s Trowel

In a well-known quotation, Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) advises the poet and cultural critic Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) that ‘when you come to Royalty, you should lay it [flattery] on with a trowel’ (1). Flattery was much in evidence on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s laying the foundation stone of the new buildings at the Victoria and […]

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