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Drawer Objects

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Some of the objects going into the galleries cannot be displayed in the usual display cases, most often because an object is particularly light sensitive. This means that its condition and stability would deteriorate if it was kept on long-term display, exposed to a constant light. To enable some of these sensitive objects to be […]

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Clothworkers’ Christmas Countdown, part 4

Although it’s only two days now until it’s time to celebrate the birth of the Saviour by wrapping pork with pork, I have found that my Christmas spirit is not what it was three weeks ago. To avoid Christmas 2013 becoming a total humbug, and to deflect any notional suggestion that I might also be […]

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Considerations on a Handkerchief


At the start of December I introduced you to one of my (many) ‘favourite’ objects that will be on display in the new galleries – a handkerchief with a design commemorating the first manned, hydrogen-filled, balloon flight, that ascended from the Tuileries Palace on 1st December 1783. The handkerchief design obviously encourages discussion and consideration […]

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Clothworkers’ Christmas Countdown, part 3

Season’s greetings! I know you’re probably all busy sitting on the Christmas cake or whatever it is you have to do, though if I may steal a few of your rested festive moments, which I see you are spending in front of the internet, to encourage you to consider exactly what it is that makes […]

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Clothworkers’ Christmas Countdown, part 2

If there’s one thing that working at the V&A has taught me, it’s that established systems can prove to be robust and to have great constancy. Having conceded that fact, my pattern and formula for this week’s festive post might in part seem a little familiar. woven silk toy, Marth Edlin ca. 1670, museum no. T.449-1990, […]

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Clothworkers’ Christmas Countdown, part 1

Friends have been proclaiming for weeks an infatuation with sherry; a love so regular one could rely on ones calendar to inform on its ascendancy and decline. We feel that nagging guilt of unfulfilled resolutions, made so sincerely hours into 2013, and yet neglected like living herbs for the past eight to eleven months. That […]

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Flying High – 230 Years Ago Today

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‘All the Conversation here at present turns upon the Balloons’  Benjamin Franklin (France, 1783) Our galleries cover a period that witnessed many great scientific and technological discoveries and achievements. One of the most visually spectacular of these was the development of balloon flight. Ballooning was a scientific feat that caught popular imagination across Europe in […]

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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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Keeping Warm


While a steady rhythm of cold rain continues tapping on the Museum windows, there are a number of objects going into the galleries that provide a satisfying suggestion of warmth and comfort. Most notably, there is the lucky lady depicted in this large Flemish tapestry warming herself by a large fire and being brought a […]

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Writing Labels & Gallery Text


With over a year until the Europe Galleries re-open, it may come as surprise to learn that we are already nearing the final stages of editing and confirming the text that will appear in the galleries. Indeed, we are doing so, even before the cases and walls, to which they will be fixed, exist! In-situ-text […]

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