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Jewellery Design

Since Pearls are having a bit of a ‘moment’, it seemed a good time to search through the Designs collection for some interesting examples of jewellery design across the ages. There are about 3000 designs for jewellery in the Museum’s collection, and we’re particularly strong on nineteenth and early twentieth century examples. As the ‘Pearls’ […]

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Making Silver Sculpture for the Victorian Home

The V&A has the largest collection of metal casting models for silver sculpture in the world. Over the last year these models have been giving up their secrets to staff researching their manufacture and design. Staff examining metal patterns for “High Life”, originally modelled by Louis Victor Fréret in c.1860. © Victoria and Albert Museum, […]

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Women and the production of ornament prints

Most often when we read about the history of it records the achievements of male artists. However from early on there have also been women artists. In Book XXXV of his Natural History Pliny the Elder (AD 25-AD 79) describes a number of women artists including Timarete of Athens (5th century BC) and Iaia or […]

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Cutting, colouring and inscribing: Part 3: inscriptions on ornament prints

Some prints in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum have been embellished by their early owners through the addition of inscriptions in pen and ink. This last part of ‘Cutting, colouring and inscribing’ looks at different examples of writing on some of these prints. These give an insight into the past lives of […]

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Cutting, colouring and inscribing Part 2: Colouring in

In the second part of three blogs looking at past intervention to ornament engravings this entry considers enlivening prints through the application of colour. Prints are commonly a monotone medium. From the early days of printing there has been an interest in producing coloured images. One way this is achieved is through colouring a black […]

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Cutting, colouring and inscribing Part 1: extracting ornament: cutting out designs from ornament prints

Produced as designs for the decorative arts, from early on ornament prints also appealed to collectors. In some cases these prints, intended to inspire designs from artists and craftsmen, appear to have inspired their past owners to embellish or change their form. The next three blog posts will investigate some embellishments made by previous owners […]

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Blackwork prints: Part 3: the demise of the blackwork ornament print

As discussed in the previous blog entry by the seventeenth century printmakers were displaying their technical mastery through combining engraving and blackwork in their plates. This was soon followed in the second decade of the seventeenth century with new developments to create tonal modelling and a more feathery style. Figure 1 Esaias van Hulsen Plate […]

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Happy Anniversary, London 2012: The Olympic Cauldron Model

Today is the one year anniversary of the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and to mark the occasion Thomas Heatherwick’s cauldron model has been installed on display in the Prints and Drawings Study Room. The model arrives in the Study Room and is taken out of its packing crate. © Abraham Thomas The […]

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Blackwork Prints: Part 2: Technical mastery and enlivening blackwork ornament prints

The technique of blackwork engraving, using goldsmith’s tools to gouge out large channels for ink was developed for jewellery designs at the end of the sixteenth century. Part two of this series of three blog entries will look at the highly skilled developments in this technique at the turn of the seventeenth century.

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Blackwork prints: Part 1:Early blackwork prints, the development of a new technique and its uses

The next three blog posts will look at blackwork prints. Developed at the end of the sixteenth-century this technique was used by a number of engravers producing ornament prints. This first blog post will consider the origins, early style and uses of blackwork engravings. In the last decades of the sixteenth century a new technique […]

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