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Storage Conversations

If you’ve recently been to the V&A and walked over the Gilbert Bayes Gallery of Sculpture which runs mid-height between the two Cast Courts, you will have seen that the Italian side has been cleared of the majority of its casts. This was done to both protect the objects from the renovation works and to […]

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Martin with the School of Athens

Tender Loving Care for a ‘well-behaved painting’

This week, I am introducing you to Martin Welsh, one of the technicians working on the Cast Court project and whose ‘magic’ operates in the beautiful frame-supports he builds to facilitate object moves and safe storage. Martin joined the V&A in November 2010, after spending three and a half years building exhibitions at the Imperial […]

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All Change

Approaching the second anniversary of the opening of the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries, we have some exciting new arrivals to the galleries on long loan from Her Majesty the Queen – three magnificent bronze busts by Leone Leoni (1509-1590), one of the great unsung heroes of Italian Renaissance sculpture. The busts, installed in late September, […]

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Cast Courts looking north c.1870

Revealing Some Hidden Gems

I joined the V&A just over a year ago and was thrilled to learn that I was going to be working on the Cast Courts project.  Their vast spaces and monumental reproductions of some of the worlds most well known pieces of sculpture and architecture have long been a source of fascination over the years […]

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Plaster cast of the Bruges Madonna by Michelangelo

From the Captain of a Dutch Corsair to a Victorian Art Referee

When I have a spare moment, I try and go to our Blythe road premises, to do some research on the Cast Courts in the V&A Archives. Ahead of my visits, my colleagues James Sutton and Nicholas Smith have helpfully been digging information about the building of the Cast Courts, the acquisition of the objects, […]

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Sculpture conservation shines a light on the plaster casts

We, the Sculpture studio in Conservation department, are really happy to contribute to the project blog and welcome this initiative taken by Melanie, the assistant curator to the project. For us in the studio the blog is an experiment and offers, we hope, some possibilities for elements of our work on the project to be […]

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Strange encounter: a dragon’s egg nestled in the Museum’s attic

In all museums, no matter how big or small, there’s always a time when you make a ‘discovery’ as you stumble upon a piece tucked away in a corner by long-gone curators. Store auditings – a slow, painstaking process, but not without surprises – are propitious times for such encounters to happen. As part of […]

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Copy of Rahael's School of Athens removed from wall for building works

New beginnings

First opened in 1873 at the heart of the building, the V&A’s Cast Courts are two gigantic day-lit galleries, separated by a corridor and filled with copies of some of Europe’s most famous sculptures and monuments. Housed in a dramatic space, these objects have come to speak to each other in unrivalled ways, while their […]

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The Local Past – Barcelona

One of the things that the curators tried to incorporate into the V&A’s Medieval & Renaissance Galleries was the idea that the past survives, often in evocative fragments, all around us in the modern city. At various points since, artists and designers have chosen to go back and take inspiration from those fragments. And one […]

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What exactly do you do?

If I had a pound for every time I’ve been asked this, I’d be a wealthy man. The usual thing is that I meet someone at a social event, the talk turns to work and careers, and then comes the big moment when I reveal that I am a museum curator. This usually earns a […]

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