Tag: History of the V&A

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Time capsules, finding the unexpected in buildings and objects. Part 2

The secret parcel and other discoveries from the Weston Cast Court. In my previous post I described some of the surprising items we found in the museum’s Medieval & Renaissance and British Sculpture galleries. The things that we found were type of messages from the past left by the people who worked in the museum […]

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The Early Music Movement and the V&A

In Britain the adoption of period instruments and historically informed practices (HIP) for the performance of ‘early music’ (generally understood to encompass music of the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods) dates to the 1970s, with some ensembles, such as the Deller Consort, blazing a trail earlier still. Looking through the concert files in the V&A […]

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Leaving Buckinham Palace

Planning a Royal visit: traffic management and crowd control in 1899

Traffic management and crowd control were uppermost on Sir John Donnelly’s mind when he sat down to dictate a memo to the Vice President of the Committee of Education on 20 April 1899. The foundation stone laying ceremony for the new museum buildings at South Kensington was only four weeks away and Donnelly was concerned […]

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Exhibition Road Gardens

From quiet garden to world class gallery: a brief history of the Exhibition Road site

The year is 1899 – The rise of Albertopolis is in full, dramatic swing, and South Kensington is quickly becoming a stronghold for the decorative arts, science and culture in Victorian England. The Natural History Museum sits proudly over Cromwell road, South Kensington tube station is bustling with travellers, and the majestic Brompton Oratory presides […]

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To the source

In a recent post for the display Blue and White: British Printed Ceramics Florence Tyler posed the question ‘Can a display exist without objects?’. Well there are certainly ceramics in the display, you will be pleased to know, but there are some things missing: the original artworks that inspired the ceramic decoration.       The V&A Ceramic Galleries were built […]

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Richard Redgrave (1804-1888): A Reluctant Traveller

You’d think that the opportunity to travel around Italy at the Museum’s expense, hunting for priceless late Medieval and Renaissance treasures to send back to South Kensington, would have been considered by a nineteenth-century curator as one of the perks of the job. Not so with Richard Redgrave. Redgrave was a painter and arts administrator; […]

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And additional note with very important information regarding the cos of beer in 1948

Time capsules, finding the unexpected in buildings and objects. Part 1

One of the benefits of working in old buildings is that they often conceal secrets that are just waiting to be discovered. Before joining the V&A, I used to work at St Paul’s Cathedral, one of the world’s most iconic buildings and filled with glorious art. In the Cathedral’s crypt, I found a fascinating object […]

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The Damascus Room as it looked around 1932, when it was installed in the Bethnal Green Museum (V&A: 1784-1932) © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A room from Damascus

In April 2015 the V&A will open a small display in the Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art about the 18th-century interior from Damascus that we used to have in our collection. Used to have you might say? This is quite a complicated story, which I am gradually uncovering. In the 18th century, the principal reception […]

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Epic Object Disintegration, and Other Tales from the Registered Files

“Director – It is my duty to report the breakage of a Glass Huqa-bowl on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum for the Royal Academy Exhibition of Indian Art.” So begins a letter dated November 21st 1947, explaining a tragic accident that took place while an object was being prepared for exhibition. “At the […]

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Rodin sculptures on display in Room 21 of the V&A.

The Rodin gift of 1914 to the V&A in ‘wholly exceptional’ circumstances – Part Four

Rodin’s death, V&A memorial exhibition and 1914-2014 celebrations at the V&A 8 November 2014 marks the anniversary of French sculptor Auguste Rodin’s gift to the V&A  of eighteen of his sculptures in honour of the French and British soldiers fighting in the First World War. In the weeks running up to this important anniversary, we […]

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