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Inspired to Make: Angry Birds

As the last days of 2014 fly away, the Fabric of India team is working hard to be ready for what will surely be a very busy year. We’re packing in as much as we can before 2015 arrives – mocking up displays, measuring extra fabric, and formatting our labels. As we go, we are – […]

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Choosing embroidered tops at the Clothworkers' Centre

The Story so Far: Only 200

The last few weeks mark a particularly exciting moment in the development of any exhibition: we have appointed an exhibition designer.  Gitta Geschwendtner and her team of 3d, 2d and lighting designers will be drawing together spaces, surfaces, light and graphics to support and reveal the stories hiding in the textiles. This is when things […]

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Inspired to Make

Design in the Details As Research Assistant for The Fabric of India, I spend a lot of time with my nose in books. But when I’m not in the library, there’s a good chance you’ll find me in the archives. Coming from a textile making background myself, one of the things I love most about […]

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1.4.10. Benares Sari (IM 5-1943) detail

The Fabric of India

Welcome to our blog on the V&A’s forthcoming exhibition The Fabric of India. It’s now a year away, but preparations are well underway for what promises to be not only a beautiful and dramatic show but also a major landmark in the study and display of the subject. Focussing on hand-made textiles, the exhibition will […]

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Clothworkers': Who Unframed Historic Fabric?

If you’re reading this, then you can probably guess how difficult it must be to interpret, unlock and care for the collections of the V&A. The amazing eclecticism and range possessed by our objects means that public access to objects and resources, and the provision of information about them, is of great importance if they […]

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A Stitch in Time: the V&A and the Bayeux Tapestry (3)

Eliza Stothard received the exaggerated report of her death (see my previous post) with ‘mingled feelings of indignation and amusement’ (1). This humiliation came on the back of a newspaper review of Jules Comte’s La Tapisserie de Bayeux (1878) which had sought clumsily to draw a line under the affair – ‘an offence which, however […]

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A Stitch in Time: the V&A and the Bayeux Tapestry (2)

In a previous post I revealed the strange circumstances under which the V&A came to own a piece of the Bayeux tapestry. Here I explain why it was returned to Bayeux and how Henry Cole inadvertently planted the seeds of controversy regarding the identity of the person who spirited it away to England in the […]

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A Stitch in Time: the V&A and the Bayeux Tapestry (1)

Photograph of the Bayeux Tapestry by Cundall & Co., 1873. Museum no. E.573:25-2005. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London It seems extraordinary but the V&A once owned a piece of the Bayeux tapestry! Measuring 3¼ in x 2½ in, it was one of two fragments removed surreptitiously (?) by Charles Stothard (1786-1821) sometime between 1816 […]

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The 12 zodiac animals at the V&A

This year Chinese New Year Day falls on 3rd February. Celebrations usually go on a little longer. In ancient China the finale of festival activities was a splendid display of brightly lit lanterns on the 15th day, after sunset. The coming new year will be the Year of the Rabbit (some say ‘Hare’). Before 1912 the Chinese reckoning of the passage of time was not linear, but cyclical. The Chinese people did not call one year 1001, the following year 1002, and so on. The reckoning of any given year consisted of two parts – the heavenly stem (thereare ten) …

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Art Needlework

Although the V&A has a strong collection of Aesthetic works of art this will be complemented by some important loans from other museums, archives and private collections. The aim of the exhibition is to suggest the complete Aesthetic ensemble, the combination of decorative art and paintings that characterised the Aesthetic interior. We are borrowing paintings by artists such as Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and James McNeill Whistler from major museums as well as the striking portraits by artists such as G. F. Watts and Edward Poynter that have been passed down through generations of the same family. To fully …

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