Tag: History of the V&A

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Learning the Value of Comics: A Lesson in Criminality

In the last episode, I encountered unexpected chicanery and duplicity when it came to adding to my collection. During my childhood, comics took me out of the world. In adulthood, they pushed back me into the world. Collecting comics also made me see money in a different light. When I ran short on unread comics […]

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Easter Tours of the Galleries with Miss Spiller, 1938

The Luck of Edenhall

On 6 February 1938, Ethel M Spiller, O.B.E., accepted an invitation to conduct two one-hour tours of the galleries on Easter Sunday (17 April). According to the press notice issued on 11 April, the 2.45pm tour would deal with ‘Selected Masterpieces’ and the 4pm tour with ‘English Domestic Arts in the time of Shakespeare’. The […]

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National Libraries Day: Researching the History of the National Art Library

V&A Interior - Entrance to The National Art Library; with architectural pediment above the door; 
V&A Museum; 
23rd December 2013.

Did you know that the Library is older than the V&A itself? Or that one of its early Keepers, the irascible W. H. James Weale, once chased an unwary bookseller through the reading room for trying to sell him a collection of ‘obscene prints’? Or that it counts not one but three copies of Shakespeare’s […]

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A new home for Neptune and Triton in the Europe 1600-1815 Gallery

Detail of Neptune's face © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Neptune and Triton (Mus. No. A.18-1950) by Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) is one of the V&A’s most well-known Italian marble groups. The sculpture, which stands nearly two meters high and weighs over 8oo kg was recently moved to the newly refurbished Europe 1600-1815 gallery, where it now stands in prime position, with Neptune casting his terrifying gaze upon […]

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Christmas with the Coles

The first Christmas card 1843

In 1843 the indefatigable Henry Cole (1808-82), who would later become the V&A’s first Director, devised the first Christmas greeting card (Cole notched up a lot of ‘firsts’ during his impressive civil service career). He commissioned John Callcott Horsley to design it. In his diary entry for 17 December 1843, Cole recorded that ‘In the […]

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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

CT8694.tif

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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