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T.361:17-1998; T.361:18-1998; T.361:19-1998; T.361:20-1998 Four accessories for paper dolls; from The History of Miss Wildfire; British; 1832. Card & watercolour.

The History of Miss Wildfire

I have spent part of the morning looking at a very interesting object in the Textiles and Fashion collection. It is a manuscript, written in rhyme, by a girl named Anne Sanders Wilson. She wrote it for her sister, Mary Wilson, in October 1832. It is ten pages long and is inscribed in a precise, […]

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David Garrick

Calling all book detectives: Garrick’s Plato

When challenged by an irate David Garrick (1717-1779), the celebrated actor, dramatist and theatre manager, who had discovered that titan of eighteenth-century letters, Dr Johnson (1709-1784), throwing elegantly bound books around his (Garrick’s) private study, Johnson is reputed to have offered this churlish excuse: ‘I was determined to examine your collection and find it consists […]

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Detail from a painting going into the Europe Galleries - 'Witches' Sabbath', oil painitng, Frans Francken (II), Antwerp, 1606 V&A Dyce.3 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Open Books

The passion for reading and collecting books became more widespread during the 17th and 18th centuries. Book collecting could be motivated by the simple pleasure of reading, a love of scholarship or, at times, a desire for pretentious ostentation. Throughout Europe many great private book collections were assembled, a number of which came to form […]

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The Glamour of Italian Fashion Since 1945

The stylish companion, the essential arm candy and the only accessory to be seen with when visiting this stunning V&A exhibition The Glamour of Italian Fashion Since 1945. This lavish book provides a comprehensive look at Italian fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present day. If you haven’t yet been […]

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Sharing Stories for Mother’s Day

Mother’s day is this weekend; a time for family gatherings, and maybe for sharing old favourite stories that have been passed down between generations. It brings to mind a book of old spooky stories we have in the National Art library that was put together by a mother and her son. ‘Legendes Rustique’ was written […]

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Bookplates

Bookplates, also called ex libris, have been pasted to the inside front covers of books since the advent of the printing press in the mid-fifteenth century. Though they were also used in public libraries, I find these small printed works most interesting when they are used by individuals to assert ownership over their prized works […]

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Religious Ceremonies of the World

In a previous post I explained how we have been holding workshops with external specialists. These enable us to draw from a broad spectrum of expertise when focussing on specific areas of the galleries and their development. We recently held another of these workshops, this time focusing on a significant work that was first published […]

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History on a page: V&A to publish German 1941-1942 list of ‘Degenerate Art’ online

One of the many fascinating objects held by the V&A is a complete list of ‘Degenerate Art’ confiscated by the Nazi regime from public institutions in Germany in 1937 and 1938. It will be published on the Museum’s website by the end of this month. ‘Degenerate Art’ is the English adaptation of the German ‘Entartete […]

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Book Cases

As every bibliophile knows, the main problem with books is how quickly they take up space.  It starts off harmlessly enough, and then before you know it a casual second-hand buying habit  quickly escalates into an in-house version of Matej Krén’s book installation art, in which books start to become the buildings they inhabit.  One […]

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Pearls: Piety, Poetry and Pre-Raphaelites – Part Three

In my previous posts I looked at how the medieval poem ‘Pearl’ was understood by the medieval mind and also how it was rediscovered and represented in the 19th century. In the early 20th century it showed itself again to be an enduring image of loss and consolation. Pearl was published again in 1918 in […]

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