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The Real Game of Thrones – Medieval Seats of Power

Fans of Games of Thrones know how impressive an important seat of power can be. This is also true in medieval manuscripts where images of thrones feature often when depicting earthly and heavenly rulers. You don’t, however, always need a fancy throne like the Iron Throne of Westeros to show your importance; any chair with […]

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The Conservation of Marie Antoinette’s Chair

Armchair, before treatment with its 1970’s upholstery and blue paint

Zoe Allen, Senior Gilded Furniture and Frames Conservator Phil James, Technician, Technical Services This painted and gilded carved walnut chair is part of a suite of furniture made for Marie Antoinette’s Cabinet Particulier in the palace of Saint – Cloud outside of Paris. It was made by Jean-Baptiste-Claude Sené (1748–1803) in 1788 and was painted […]

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Sewerby Hall

Early 20th-century photograph depicting the oak room of Sewerby Hall

From 9 August visitors to Sewerby Hall, Yorkshire, will be able see no fewer than 40 items of furniture on long-term loan from the V&A. This will bring to fruition a five-year collaboration between the V&A and Sewerby Hall. Situated near Bridlington on the East Yorkshire coast, Sewerby Hall was built in the eighteenth century […]

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If Walls had Ears (and Chairs had Mouths)

I don’t know about you, but I was very relieved to read that Dick van Dyke escaped unscathed from the jaws of death last week. Having spent my childhood learning about Women’s Lib from Mary Poppins and my student years studying the complexities of the American healthcare system by way of Diagnosis Murder, I’m very […]

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Lumps of Geometry

As I may have mentioned before, I've been working recently on a big exhibition about Postmodernism here at the V&A. One of the most exciting aspects of the project has been making acquisitions: finding objects for the collection that will stay long after the show has ended.

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Jane Dillon: Ahead of the Curve

Here's a pop quiz for you.When was this chair designed? If you guessed 'last year,' Idon't blame you. It's got a fashion-forward pinkness about it, and the combination of circle, curve and triangular wedge has the minimal snap of the latest out of Milan. Or perhaps you went for '1981'?I wouldn't blame you. The chair does look pretty postmodern, and even bears a passing resemblance to Peter Shire's iconic 'Bel Air' chair of that year. Both the mystery chair and Shire's Postmodern design have similarly disjunctive compositions, with curved, angular and round shapes smashed together. They are like almost-accidental masterpieces. …

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Draw a Line and Follow It

One of my favorite art works is called "Zen for Head,"a performance piece by Nam Jun Paik. It is an interpretation of a 'score' by another artist, LaMonte Young, who was associated with the Fluxus movement of the 1950s and '60s. This group was interested in putting the possibility of artmaking in the hands of ordinary people. Young's "Composition 1960 No. 10" consisted entirely of the instruction:"draw a straight line and follow it."A couple of years later, Paik did just that, dunking his head in a bowl of ink and dragging his hair like a giant brush along a scroll …

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