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Shop front of Merchant & Mills store in Rye

Modern markets for traditional techniques

Indian textiles have long held great appeal to European consumers; so much so that in the 17th Century the Indian textile industry were seen as a direct threat to British textile manufacture.  This resulted in the ban of textile imports from India and in turn gave rise to a lively trade in smuggled chintz.  Since […]

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© Victoria and Albert Museum

Clay Hand Tracing

I like the idea of buildings as handcrafted objects, hands are the most sophisticated and versatile of all the tools involved in the construction process, they perform the small gestures, that accumulate over time to reveal the completed building. These gestures range from hand signals that guide vehicles and objects through the site, to the […]

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The cast of Michelangelo’s David, REPRO.1857-161, showing sampling locations

Exploratory surgery on the cast of Michelangelo’s David

Being Italian, I always felt secretly chuffed when I passed by the V&A Cast Courts and saw the plaster replica of Michelangelo’s David standing there: who better than him could watch over other reproductions of medieval and Renaissance masterpieces from the Bel Paese? Imagine then how thrilled I was when I was asked to perform […]

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A Surrey Cottage, 1880, watercolour by Helen Allingham. Courtesy of Burgh House & Hampstead Museum

Cottage Gardens: Fact or Fiction?

by Sophie Foan   The English are well known for their love of gardening. From village flower and produce shows to inner city allotments, evidence of this is manifest nationwide. The public have long enjoyed visiting the gardens of grand country houses made accessible by the National Trust, and programmes such as Gardener’s World are […]

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IMG_20141015_101109

Where do you keep all your shoes?

Today Emma (exhibition assistant and I) have received a large delivery of shoes. But where do the museum keep all their shoes? This question has already been answered by Will ‘s post here. But what happens to the shoes once they have been selected by curators to become part of an exhibition? Now that the […]

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The Constable:  Making of a Master Private View

Discovering legacies at the V&A: Steve Daszko

It’s a Wednesday evening, late September. The night is young and I find myself playing ‘spot the difference’ in the heart of the V&A’s Constable: The Making of a Master exhibition. I am with Steve Daszko, a good friend to the V&A, and we are comparing the V&A’s full-scale study of The Hay Wain with […]

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The finished panel. Museum no. C.317-1927.

Stained Glass on Paper: Morris & Co. and the Pre-Raphaelites

[Stained glass] is a very limited art and its limitations are its strength. (Edward Burne-Jones, 1897) The qualities needed in the design […] are beauty and character of outline; exquisite, clear, precise drawing of incident. (William Morris, 1890) In my previous post, I looked at some early stained glass designs, and mentioned how the established techniques […]

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Suit worn by Christopher Breward for his Civil Partnership ceremony, 2006 © V&A Collection

Friends of the Couple

While we are honoured to have the wedding dresses of celebrities on display, we were equally touched to be loaned and trusted with pieces worn by those who are, perhaps, less well known but no less significant. While curating the exhibition, an emphasis was placed on representing lots of different kinds of brides and weddings […]

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This one please!

Selecting Furniture & Sculpture Part III

Suitable for Inclusion? – Some Practical Considerations So you’re a curator with your eye on an extraordinary, dazzling furniture or sculpture object (which perhaps handily belonged to someone famous!) that you would like to include in your galleries. Now you need to consider further practical aspects that might determine whether or not it is suitable […]

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John Constable

Your Affectionate Father John Constable

In 1828 John Constable found himself a widower with seven young children. Apart from his own sorrow at the death of his beloved wife Maria, a blow from which he never really recovered, he must also have had to deal with the grief and loss faced by his offspring. As a comparatively well off single […]

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