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Illustration Awards: Dame Jacqueline Wilson to judge 2016 competition


We are just thrilled to announce that the former Children’s Laureate, one of the nation’s favourite authors and a writer with as strong a claim as any to the title of “National Treasure” – Dame Jacqueline Wilson – will be judging the published categories of the 2016 V&A Illustration Awards.

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The curious case of the Tibetan skull drum

Detail showing an area of missing decoration © Johanna Puisto Victoria and Albert Museum, London

I was recently asked to work on a very unusual object, which was a 19th century Tibetan drum, made of human skulls. The drum was about to travel to the Wellcome Collection’s exhibition titled; ‘Tibet’s Secret Temple; Body, Mind and Meditation in Tantric Buddhism’. It was highly exciting to work on this loan as His […]

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Guest Post: Raising the Roof! Mounting Tipu’s Tent

Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Today’s post focuses on the single biggest challenge of the exhibition – both literally and logistically. Those of you who have already visited the show will have no doubt been bowled-over by the majesty of Tipu’s garden-like tent. But getting its massive canopy up was no small job. To give us a behind-the-scenes look into what it took to raise […]

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Welcome to the Undressed blog

T.18-1958 Underbust Satin Ribbon Corset, c.1895 © V&A Collection

Welcome to our blog for the V&A’s forthcoming exhibition Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear. As we reach the six month mark in the run up to the exhibition’s opening in April 2016, our team’s preparations are already in full swing. A chance to show some treasures, over 200 objects will be going on display. […]

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The making of Kalpataru


India’s rich artistic traditions have been bought together in this celebratory installation by Delhi based designers Sarthak Sengupta and Sahil Bagga of Sarthak Sahil Design Co. The inspiration for the installation comes from nature. The central tree is shaped like a leaf from the sacred tulsi plant and it is surrounded by representations of trees and […]

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The Saga of Letitia and Rachel

The Saga of Letitla and Rachel

One of the unexpected pleasures of cataloguing a collection is when hidden treasures are discovered hidden behind dry archive descriptions, such as: “ANONYMOUS : Caricatures The Saga of Letitia and Rachel.  Drawings (23) satirizing a contemporary incident (?).  English, c.1910.” From the first image, my attention was grabbed by these high-quality charming drawings, far too […]

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BEST OF THE BEST: TOP 5 Illustration Award Editorial winners

Richard Parent Chernobyl 1988

With limited page space and tight commission deadlines, the editorial illustrator must demonstrate the flare and imagination to sum up complex ideas quickly. Here we list – in no particular order – 5 of our favourite winners of the V&A Illustration Awards Editorial category.

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Guest Post: Stitch Narratives – Continuance and Evolution of Running Stitch Embroidery

Stitch detail on jacket by Swati Kalsi

Hello again! This week we welcome Gopika Nath, a textile artist and writer living and working in Gurgaon, who shares our passion for kantha embroidery in both its traditional and contemporary forms.  Read on for a blog post you can almost touch… There is a nip in the air and it’s time to take out the silk […]

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The owls are not what they seem…


While on the lookout for spooky creatures to blog about for Halloween I noticed something curious – why are there so many owls in the Word and Image collection? It soon became clear that most of them were donated by the same man, Walter Strachan, but this raised more questions – who was he, how did his collection […]

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Hats off to the straw and shellac


Can you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to straw hats? Sadly I struggle to, which is why it’s so helpful to have students from the ‘Period Hat’ class at Morley College, London and their tutor Jane Smith come to the V&A Museum of Childhood to study our children’s hat collection with me. During […]

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