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Frontispiece to 1620 version of 'Don Quixote' NAL: Dyce 2000. ©V&A Museum.

Searching for Don Quixote in the NAL

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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A ‘Tragedie en Musique’ performed on 8th January 1685

Today in 1685 ‘Roland, tragédie en musique’’was first performed by the Académie Royale de Musique before King Louis XIV at Versailles. This 1685 publication of the libretto to ‘Roland, Tragedy in Music’ will feature in the new Europe Galleries as part of a display looking at musical performance in the 17th century. ‘Roland’ is one of […]

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Flexura Boots  ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Figure Training

 “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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Brachycombes by Geoge Brookshaw

Every Lady Her Own Drawing Master

One of the main pleasures of taking up a hobby is surely acquiring all the necessary equipment, preferably new, with everything matching and on a professional scale. Women taking up watercolour painting in 1797 obviously felt the same “Every lady who has a taste for painting, furnishes herself with a box of colours, probably eighteen, […]

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Speed Residency update from Vincent Larkin

Vincent is coming to the end of his two week residency slot in the studio, and below he shares his thoughts on his time here, as well as some great photos of his work in progress. * There’s a great deal of energy to this space and the galleries. All of these objects and stories […]

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Style and Satire

INTRODUCING GUEST BLOGGER Sarah Grant, curator in the Word and Image Department at the V&A, and co-author of the  V&A’s new publication Style and Satire: Fashion in Print 1777-1927 Style and Satire tells the entertaining story of European fashion and its most fantastical trends from two interrelated perspectives – the lavish, celebratory fashion plate, and […]

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Q&A with the Legendary Biba Designer Barbara Hulanicki

1. What is your favourite Shop in London and Miami? In Miami I love C Madeline’s, it’s an extraordinary Vintage shop on Biscayne Boulevard. In London it would be Selfridges. 2. Tell us about the Biba outfits that stick out in your mind… The hooded leopard coat we made for Twiggy in the nineteen seventies. […]

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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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