Tag: History of the V&A

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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. Over drinks and dinner, the guests began to talk about a woman called Gabrielle Enthoven. Enthoven, an obsessive collector and lover of the theatre, had donated […]

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

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

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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

Lute

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

Leaving Buckinham Palace

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

Exhibition Road Gardens

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

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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

Cole and Redgrave

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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