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One of Dr. Gygi’s hoarding subjects in Tokyo. © Fabio Gygi, 2014

Too Much Is Not Enough: Attitudes Toward Accumulation and Hoarding in Japan

by EVE ZAUNBRECHER The popularity of reality TV shows such as Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive have introduced hoarding into popular culture and have raised interesting debates about rampant consumerism and the politics of mental health disorders. Hoarders, once dismissed as ‘pack rats’ or ‘messies’, have now been located on the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder spectrum […]

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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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By George!

When the latest addition to the British Royal family was named last year, most reliable sources on royal affairs associated Prince George’s name with two illustrious predecessors: his great, great-grandfather, George V, who founded the House of Windsor; and Colin Firth, who played George VI in ‘The King’s Speech’. There is, however, another important George […]

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Searching for the Perfect Match: A trip to Houghton Hall

Both the greatest opportunities and the greatest challenges that the William Kent exhibition presents are in recreating within a museum setting a sense of Kent’s designs for grand and influential spaces. Unlike many of his predecessors, Kent did not just devise buildings, or only paint ceilings, or exclusively design furniture, or solely landscape gardens; instead, […]

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A Staycation in Chiswick

Last weekend I took something of a busman’s holiday and trundled along the District line to Chiswick House. Chiswick brings together two important figures in William Kent’s life: Lord Burlington, Kent’s long-time patron and friend; and Andrea Palladio, the sixteenth-century Venetian architect. As I mentioned last time, Burlington and Kent met in Italy, where they […]

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Gilty Pleasures

If there was one thing that that William Kent was good at, it was gold. Actually he was good at many things, but he approached gilding with a taste or ‘gusto’ that, quite literally, dazzled his contemporaries. Kent’s love of gold can be traced back to the years he spent in Italy as a young […]

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V&A’s Frank Lloyd Wright room on view at Tate Britain

By Christopher Wilk, Keeper, Furniture, Textiles & Fashion Department. In an installation commissioned for Tate Britain’s major Kurt Schwitters exhibition, the artist Adam Chodzko has reconfigured the V&A’s Kaufmann Office designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  Designed in 1937, the office was used by Edgar Kaufmann in his Pittsburgh department store until his death […]

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The Exhibition Beautiful

Aesthetes were very aware of the importance of colour and pattern to the creation of what they called ‘The House Beautiful’. They preferred subtle tertiary hues, such as olive green and terracotta, and used motifs such as the peacock, lily and sunflower throughout their designs. The Cult of Beauty exhibition designers were therefore faced with the challenge of creating a suitable environment in which the Aesthetic artworks could be displayed, a space which would complement but not overwhelm the objects. Right from their early concept, the designers at the Dutch firm Opera were aware of what was needed. Shades of …

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