Tag: conservation

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The Guardian Angel of Theatreland: A History of the Spirit of Gaiety

Figure 1 - The Spirit of Gaiety, Hibbert C. Binney, 1904. Museum no. S.2630-1996.

As a team of conservators begin work on restoring the Spirit of Gaiety statue on display at the V&A Museum, Rosie Vizor from the Department of Theatre and Performance uncovers the history of the statue and the theatre on which she stood. The magnificent Spirit of Gaiety statue has been in the care of the […]

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Under the Skin of the Spirit of Gaiety – 1

Figure 1 - The Spirit of Gaiety, Hibbert C. Binney, 1904. Museum no. S.2630-1996.

Many of you may have had a glimpse of the Spirit of Gaiety statue from the Painting Galleries (Figure 1): it is a very large, carved and gilded angel blowing a trumpet, originally designed for the dome of the Gaiety Theatre in London and erected there in 1904 (Figure 2). Although any visitor can view […]

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Identification of plastics by looking, touching and smelling

Example of groups of plastics made from melamine formaldehyde and cellulose nitrate

Carien van Aubel Conservation Science intern, University of Amsterdam   Collections with objects dating from the late-nineteenth-century onwards often include a variety of plastics. As there are numerous different types of plastics it would be hoped that specific identification would be stated in the records but it is not easy for those not experienced with […]

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Mounting Opus: an in–house solution

The Butler Bowden Cope, T.36-1955, on display in the exhibition

Thomas Salt, Museum Technician Frances Hartog, Senior Textile Conservator The Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition ‘Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery’, held from 1 October 2016 to 5 February 2017, is the first time in two generations that so many of these exquisite embroideries have been brought together for display. To ensure the safety […]

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Out on a Limb: the Fosshape revolution

Figure 4. Swinging London display front view

Lara Flecker, Senior Textile Conservation Display Specialist Rachael Lee, Textile Conservation Display Specialist   The costume mounting team were recently tasked with recreating the fun, free-spirited essence of the fashion and stage clothing of the late 1960s and early ’70s for the V&A 2016 exhibition ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970’. […]

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The use of lasers in the conservation of museum objects made from plastics

The surface of polystyrene under the optical microscope exposed to different conditions

Dafni Daskalaki-Mountanou, MSc student Imperial College / V&A The predominance of polymers in everyday life is obvious. They have become an integral part not only of everyday objects but of cultural heritage objects as well. A survey held in the 1990s at the Victoria and Albert Museum showed that large numbers of artefacts were partly […]

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Corset mounting for Undressed: the bones of the matter

Woven corset, Charles Bayer, Britain, London, 1879-85. Linen, silk and whalebone (baleen), V&A: T.114&A-1938.

Lilia Prier Tisdall, Textile Conservation Display Specialist In her catalogue for the V&A exhibition ‘Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear’, Exhibition curator Edwina Ehrman writes how ‘one of underwear’s primary roles is to smooth, firm and mould the body in accordance with the fashionable ideal and to provide a substructure for the fashions of the […]

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Logistics of moving a thirteenth-century cope chest

Cope chest on display at the V&A

Dr Nigel Bamforth Senior Furniture Conservator The York Minster cope chest, one of only seven surviving semi-circular cope chests in English cathedrals and a fine example of medieval timber and ironwork, was requested for loan by the Victoria and Albert Museum from the Dean and Chapter of York Minster for inclusion in the ‘Opus Anglicanum: […]

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The Resurrection of the Salisbury Cross

Cross after treatment

Alicia Robinson, Senior Curator, Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass Donna Stevens, Senior Metals Conservator Zoe Allen, Senior Furniture and Gilding Conservator This three metre high cross once on top of the choir screen in Salisbury Cathedral was designed by George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878) and made by Francis Skidmore of Coventry (1817-1896) and erected in about […]

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Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’: Revealing Object Histories with UV Light

Sixteenth-century case under normal light

  This post was written by second-year student, Letitia Calin, one of a group of V&A/RCA History of Design MA students participating in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab.   Early on in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar and lab course of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA we investigated a selection of early […]

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