Tag: History of the V&A

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V&A’s sixteen ceramic poppies now on display

Sixteen ceramic poppies from ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’

Sixteen ceramic poppies acquired by the Museum for its permanent collections are now on display in Room 103. These come from the poignant, dramatic and phenomenally crowd-drawing installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, sited in the dry moat of the Tower of London between 5th August and 11th November 2014. Commemorating the centenary […]

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Circulating Barbara Hepworth

Involute II

Guest blog by Joanna Weddell, who holds an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the V&A Museum and the University of Brighton researching Disseminating Design, a project on the post-war regional impact of the V&A Circulation Department. To coincide with the Tate show Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World we look at the sculptor’s Involute II which inspired art students around the […]

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‘Slumland Art’: Exhibiting the Bethnal Green Men’s Institute 1924-1938

Lord Burnham and Archibald Hattemore

In 1928, East Ender Archibald Hattemore was interviewed by the Daily News and Westminster Gazette about his painting ‘The Dead Flamingo, Interior of Bethnal Green Museum’ (Tameside Museum and Galleries Service). The picture had just been purchased by the world’s most famous art dealer, Joseph Duveen, for exhibition in the Tate Gallery. A resident of […]

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Pulling out all the stops: Henry Cole and Royal Albert Hall’s Grand Organ

The Royal Albert Hall: The Great Organ, Orchestra, and Chorus

The BBC Proms season is only just underway so it seems somewhat premature to mention the climactic Last Night of the Proms, when the bronze bust of Sir Henry Wood, borrowed for the duration of the concert series from the Royal Academy of Music and set on a plinth immediately before the Royal Albert Hall’s […]

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Pet Cemetery: Henry Cole, Jim, Tycho and Pickle


This blog was prompted by an enquiry we received recently about the two commemorative plaques for ‘Jim’ and ‘Tycho’ set into the wall in an obscure corner of the V&A’s John Madejski garden. On Thursday, 30 January 1879, Sir Henry Cole (1808-82), the V&A’s first Director, wrote this poignant entry in his diary: 49 Wilton […]

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‘Mouthing for snuff-boxes’: David Garrick, Macbeth and a gold snuffbox

Garrick's snuffbox

Is this a dagger, which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? (Macbeth, II.i.33-34) David Garrick (1717-79) delivered Macbeth’s famous soliloquy 37 times on the London stage between 1744 and 1768. Thomas Wilkes, in A General View of the Stage (1759), attempted to describe the manner of Garrick’s performance, specifically his unrivaled ability […]

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Of objects and labels: Mr Beresford visits the V&A

'Lago Maggiore from Stresa' by Sir Alfred East

The majority of the 50,000 historical correspondence (or nominal) files in the V&A Archive document the acquisition and loan of museum objects. Some, however, contain correspondence and papers of a more general nature. In the file for George Charles Beresford (1864-1938) we find a combination of acquisition papers and visitor feedback, the latter prompted by a […]

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The Private Life of Gabrielle Enthoven

Enthoven as a young woman.

In February 1931, the sculptor Una Troubridge wrote an entry in her diary about a dinner party she had hosted that evening with her partner, the novelist Radclyffe Hall. Hall had been embroiled in controversy and notorious legal battles over her banned 1928 lesbian novel, ‘The Well of Loneliness’. Over drinks and dinner, Troubridge records that the […]

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Best laid plans: mapping the V&A by Andrew McIlwraith


Andrew McIlwraith is a PhD researcher in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. His research is funded by the AHRC Design Star Centre for Doctoral Training of which the V&A is a partner.   It’s no secret that the V&A is a complicated building. Even regular visitors may struggle […]

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At least 75% of the children behaved themselves properly

F R Wilson with a school group, 1920s

Here’s another gem from The Times in the 1920s. The perennial problem of children in museums had arisen in the letters pages, and the newspaper approached Sir Cecil Harcourt-Smith, Director of the V&A, for comment… Children in the Museums Sir C. Harcourt Smith’s Views The behaviour of children in museums in London having been the […]

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