Tag: France

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Joubert – Commemorating 250 years of silk design


Over the past few months, myself and some colleagues in the Fashion and Textile department, in collaboration with the Courtauld Institute of Art,  have been busy organising a workshop. This will bring together academics, curators and students from different places and backgrounds. The workshop will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the first manual on silk design to be […]

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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 156


The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 156 Back to where it all started, well the production anyway.  This renowned French patisserie on Greek St is where I had my first meeting with  #1882Ltd – the manufacturers who have made the Fine Bone China Shops. Maison Bertaux was founded in 1871. Owned by sisters Michele and […]

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In Memory of Toussaint Louverture


The 20th of May marked 272 years since the revolutionary François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture (1743-1803), was born into bondage in Haiti, the French island colony then known as Saint-Domingue (Santo Domingo). I was interested to read that in 2015 this date saw the unveiling of a new statue in memory of Toussaint Louverture, in the courtyard […]

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Falbalas and Fanfreluches part 1: Folk Dress

George Barbier. “Sérenade,” 1923. Colour process engraving published by Meynial, Paris. E.638-1954

George Barbier (1882-1932) was one of the most highly regarded illustrators of the early 20th century Art Deco movement. His 1910s and 1920s fashion illustrations are among some of the most evocative of their period, and tempered with an unexpected sense of humour and liveliness. Perhaps more successfully than any other fashion illustrator of his […]

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The Brown Suit: Anglomania

The upper-body of the suit, shown as it would have been worn with a cravat around the neck.

As well as illustrating a svelte figure, this wonderful brown suit also exemplifies staple day-wear fashions for the middle and upper classes in late 18th-century Europe. Its slim-fit, noticeably snug across the upper-body, and the height of the coat collar attest to the owner’s fashionable taste. The breeches reach over the knees and are a tighter fit than […]

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The Brown Suit: Audio Recordings


The other week I found myself in the Textile Conservation studios, a microphone in front of me, contemplating how much sweat may have soaked into a coat. I should quickly make it clear that it wasn’t a coat being worn by a perspiring colleague, but rather a very smart wool coat dating from the 1780s. […]

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St. Fiacre

Detail of A.135-1946, alabaster statue of St. Fiacre © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Today marks the feast of Saint Fiacre (d.670). This semi-mythical 7th century Irish saint was a sort of nurse-cum-hermit who would tend to the ailments of all who visited his oratory so long as they met one condition: that they were a man. Women were cautioned to stay away from his retreat on pain of […]

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Medal Cabinet Appeal – Elizabeth Bisley, Assistant Curator

Elizabeth and the Medal Cabinet

‘This cabinet is an incredibly important example of Napoleonic design, it tells so many stories about design, craftsmanship, politics and luxury in early nineteenth-century France, and would be an amazing addition to our new European galleries.’ In this series of blogs we’re interviewing various members of staff who come in contact with the Napoleonic Medal […]

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Bastille Day

The Storming of the Bastille, detail of T.63-1936 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Today is Bastille Day! Bastille Day (formally called Fête Nationale in France) commemorates one of the most famous events of the French Revolution – the day when Parisian revolutionaries stormed the Bastille on July 14th, 1789. The Bastille was a royal fortress which commanded the eastern side of Paris and was considered to symbolise the monarch’s despotism. The […]

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Happy Birthday Honoré!

Today we celebrate the birthday of the lithographer Honoré Daumier, born on 26th February, 1808. A staunch republican, he produced over 4000 lithographs in his lifetime, chronicling, commenting on, and, most importantly, sartirising the tumultuous nineteenth century French politics and society he lived and worked through. His exposure to four different political regimes, namely the […]

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