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Garnitures: What a difference a vase makes!

Five-piece garniture, porcelain, Jingdezhen, China, circa 1695,

It isn’t often museum curators have a chance to explore historical decorative schemes using vase sets to research the history of ceramic display, taste and patronage (unless you work for the National Trust). Vase sets, also known as ‘garnitures’ (ie. to garnish or adorn furniture or interiors), come to life when displayed on furniture or […]

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Garnitures : Discovering the Joy of Sets!

Five-piece garniture, porcelain, Jingdezhen, China, circa 1695,

The idea for the display Garnitures: Vase Sets from National Trust Houses has been brewing in my head for almost two decades. Ceramic scholars describe matching sets of vases as ‘garnitures’, vessels that ornament or adorn (‘garnish’) a specific location, such as a chimney or the top of a cabinet. I was researching the history […]

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Garnitures: Vase Sets From National Trust Houses

Five-piece garniture, porcelain, Jingdezhen, China, circa 1695,

On 11 October 2016, we are opening the first-ever museum display focused on vase sets, also known as garnitures (from Fr. garnir ‘to garnish’). These are primarily ceramic vases with matching decoration designed for display above a chimneypiece, a cabinet and even over doorways. The National Trust has the largest collection of vase sets in […]

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Toshiba Gallery – From Renovation to Innovation

Japanese print by Shigenobu (Hiroshige II) depicting Nakano Street in the Yoshiwara district of Edo (Tokyo) during cherry blossom season.

The Japanese concept of ‘mono no aware’ is central to Japanese aesthetics. It is usually translated as ‘the pathos of things’ and is used to describe the beauty of the ephemeral. The cherry blossom, which blooms for only a few weeks, is highly valued in Japan because of its transience. It is fitting that as […]

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Contemporary Korean Ceramics: Tradition and Innovation

New display at the Korean Gallery

  In Korea, contemporary ceramic art practice can be roughly divided into three different approaches. First of all, there are artists who adhere to tradition, preserving the cultural heritage of the nation. Secondly there are those who pursue innovation, seeking artistic originality and individual expression. The third trend bridges these two by reinterpreting tradition with […]

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1660 LONDON Tea Cup Connoisseur Set: Visit to Postcard Teas

Postcard Teas, London. Courtesy of Postcard Teas

Early in December, Jana and I went on a curatorial research trip to Postcard Teas, on Dering Street in London’s Mayfair district. It was a cold, drizzly afternoon and the shop became the perfect oasis away from the noisy crowds and ceaseless hustle of nearby Oxford Street. It occupies a small space and has a […]

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Size matters: Putting on an exhibition

Sketch of Tipu’s tent by Designer, Gitta Gschwendtner

Now we have an object list, the preparation of The Fabric of India exhibition can really get under way. One of the first things I need to organise is the assembly of key object information to be shared with the project team. The V&A project team is made of representatives from different departments across the […]

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The Festival of Holi

The Hindu festival of Holi falls in February and March, depending on the lunar calendar, heralding the arrival of Spring.  In 2014 Holi is celebrated on the 17th March.  The day is infused with a chaotic and joyous atmosphere during which participants throw brightly coloured powders and liquids at each other, and spray coloured water […]

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Latest acquisition funded by Samsung for the Korean Collection at the V&A: Aggregation10-SE032RED

We are delighted to announce that the V&A has a new addition to its growing Korean Collection. Aggregation10-SE032RED is part of a series of new acquisitions purchased in the last year with the generous support of Samsung. This large contemporary ‘relief-painting’ is made by the artist Chun Kwang-Young, renowned for his creative and innovative use […]

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Changing Displays at the Nehru Gallery: Conservation of Company Paintings at the V&A

Company painting_Delhi

This September, the V&A’s Nehru gallery of South Asian art will be transformed when the current display in the gallery is changed and around 85 new paintings and 20 textiles are installed. The V&A’s collections of South Asian art are the most comprehensive and important in the Western world. The paintings in the collection number some 5000, most of […]

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