Tag: History of the V&A

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Issue 6 V&A Online Journal

Issue 6 of the V&A Online Journal Just Released

Issue 6 of the V&A Online Journal is now available to read here.   In this issue, each article uncovers the hidden histories embedded in objects: from computer-generated art and design, through a rare manuscript written by an 18th-century artisan, to the Museum’s collection of theatrical prompt books. Each author, in taking seriously the seemingly […]

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CIS:4974-1910

Skeletons in the vaults; or, the V&A bone collectors

The Archive’s S.Ex register makes for interesting reading – but not for the reason its suggestive title may have duped us momentarily into thinking! S.Ex (or School Examples) objects were acquired for the V&A’s Circulation Department between 1882 and 1892, and used largely for still life cases, modelling or anatomical study. Of the approximately 1,200 […]

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Apron worn to de-install The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014. Photograph © Sadie Hough, 2014

Pockets of Glamour

As the last vestiges of Italian glamour are obscured by tissue and Tyvek, and packed away ready for the first venue of an American tour, I am reminded of the role that clothing plays in getting a job done. At the V&A, the periods in which exhibitions are installed and then eventually taken down are characterised by increased […]

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IMAG0589

An Unknown Soldier? The V&A’s First World War Memorial

Simple and solemn in cream Hopton Wood stone, the V&A’s monument to its 1914-18 war dead sits unobtrusively in the main entrance hall. Designed in 1919 by the sculptor and typographer Eric Gill, it was commissioned by the Museum with the dual aims of commemorating the fallen and acquiring an example of Gill lettering. As […]

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Cigarette box, made by Archibald Knox, made in Birmingham, UK, 1903-4. M.15-1970
Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

The Bed Box

Wonderful story about how the Museum acquired a silver box, as well as drawings, by Archibald Knox from the potter Rosemary Wren.  The speaker is David Coachworth who came to work in the V&A in 1963, now retired. Rosemary’s mother, the potter Denise Wren, had been a student of Knox’s and couldn’t resist buying the box with money she was supposed […]

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NorthCourtSMALL

It’s a cover-up! Interior design at the South Kensington Museum

Something caught my eye in this old photograph of the V&A’s North Court taken in the late 19th century: The North Court in the late 19th century. Museum no. E.1101-1989. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London You may not recognise this space but you’ll have been in it if you’ve seen any of the V&A’s […]

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David Garrick

Calling all book detectives: Garrick’s Plato

When challenged by an irate David Garrick (1717-1779), the celebrated actor, dramatist and theatre manager, who had discovered that titan of eighteenth-century letters, Dr Johnson (1709-1784), throwing elegantly bound books around his (Garrick’s) private study, Johnson is reputed to have offered this churlish excuse: ‘I was determined to examine your collection and find it consists […]

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International Archives Day: New Art Furniture exhibition 1901 – an ‘exceedingly vulgar show’

Today is International Archives Day (yes, we have our own day!) so I thought I’d use our archives to illustrate one of the more controversial episodes in the V&A’s otherwise long and distinguished history of object collecting and display. ‘An exceedingly vulgar show’ (The Times) ‘Ill-mannered specimens of upstart art … the delirious art of men […]

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Sent to Nottingham: the diary of a nineteenth-century curator (2)

 “5th JuneInterview with Mr Richards and Mr Fussell long discussion with them about the room in which the collection should be placed opposed Mr Fussell’s plan of placing in the back or work room, saw other members of the committee – and it was finally settled that the collection should be exhibited in the Library […]

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Introducing Enthoven

It is now 90 years since Gabrielle Enthoven’s gift of 80,000 playbills, engravings, photographs, manuscripts and books was accepted by the museum after a decade-long campaign. In life Enthoven was indefatigable, had a considerable public profile and a gift for publicity that earned her the nickname ‘the theatrical encyclopedia’. Since her death she has become […]

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