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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 117

The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 117 Curtain Road, East London today with British Design firm @SCPLtd celebrating 30 years at the forefront of British Design.  Beautiful furniture , lovely shop I want most of the furniture in there! Check this article in The Guardian ©Barnaby Barford 2014

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Golden Glitter: Recreating the aventurine speckles on the Dresden Cabinet

Gently heating the film with a hairdryer to soften it ©Tristram Bainbridge

Today’s post comes from Tristram Bainbridge, Furniture Conservator, who has been working on this eye-catching 18th-century writing cabinet for display in the new Europe Galleries. The cabinet will feature in the Fantasies display, which explores fashionable Europeans’ fascination with Chinese and Japanese imagery and the resulting hybrid style that became known by the French term […]

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Handshake with Helsinki: An encounter with Alvar and Aino Aalto

Interior, Aalto House, Image © Roxanne Ravenhill, 2015.

For a week in spring term, first-year students on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA are liberated from their libraries and seminar rooms to learn on site in some of some of the world’s most design historical cities. This year’s lucky students had the opportunity to choose between visiting Istanbul, which we’ll hear more about in […]

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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the day No.48


The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day No.48 Spring cleaning? Out with the old – in with the new, why not use this place to get rid of your old furniture? Near Crystal Palace. 27 Whitehorse Lane, Thornton Heath, SE25 6RD ©Barnaby Barford 2014

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Selecting Furniture & Sculpture Part III

This one please!

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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Selecting Furniture & Sculpture Part I

It's a bit of a balancing act! Dog balancing on two chairs on the balcony of 5 Princes Gardens, albumen print, Clementina, Lady Hawarden, London, ca.1861. V&A PH.457:330-1968

Today’s post has been prompted by a comment from Robert Thornhill on a previous entry. Robert asked for more information on how and why choices were made in selecting furniture and sculpture objects for the new galleries. I previously described the overall process of selecting objects back in the early days of the blog, but […]

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‘little meat and a great deal of cabbage and turnips have driven us out of Würzburg … This 22nd day of October in the year 1716’


Large writing cabinets, such as the impressive example below, were often important indicators of a gentleman’s status in the 18th century. This cabinet is a fine example of the best craftsmanship of the period and its large size and intricate detailing indicates the importance of the person for whom it was made. It also held within it a secret […]

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Out On Display #2: Eileen Gray, Avant-Garde Designer

Eileen Gray screen

Screen Eileen Gray France (Paris), wood with lacquer, c.1928 W.40-1977 On display in room 135   Born into an aristocratic Irish family, the designer and architect Eileen Gray (1878-1976) lived an unconventional life compared to most women of her time and class. Initially training as a paintre, it was Gray’s visit to the Paris Exposition […]

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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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Brazilian Contemporary Event at the V&A – Part 1 Raul Schmidt Felippe Junior

Panamericana (flag 1) version II, 2011 by Alexandre da Cunha, courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery

This will be a series of seven videos, each was taken of the speakers at the Brazil Contemporary event that was held on the 21st March 2014 at the V&A. The videos will be released over the course of seven weeks.    Part 1 – Interview with Raul Schmidt Felippe Junior Collector of Brazilian Furniture […]

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