Tag: metalwork

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Lighting up the Studio

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Last week a colleague mysteriously encouraged me to pop my head into the Photo Studio, for a ‘nice surprise’. Not knowing quite what to expect, I arrived to find Metalwork Curator Kirstin and Senior Metals Conservator Donna in the final stages of assembling the rather stunning chandelier which will be part of our Louis XIV display. To enable […]

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We Think through Practice!

The crucible has been lifted out of the furnace and placed in an iron support.  Becky removes the slag (waste) from the motlen bronze in the crucible.

V&A/RCA History of Design students are one of the museum’s best-kept secrets. They organise conferences, symposia and shows, take part in practice-based workshops and study visits, contribute to major projects at the V&A and elsewhere and, of course, write about all aspects of the history of design, on this blog, and as part of their […]

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St. Barbara

T.13-1937, embroidered picture of St. Barbara, probably a 20th century forgery © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Today, almost three weeks late, I present St. Barbara, another spurious Roman saint. She is said to have been born in the mid-3rd century, her father was wealthy, overbearing and pagan. He kept her locked in a tower to protect her from the world, but could not prevent her from secretly becoming a Christian and […]

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Commemorating the Reformation in ‘ANNO SECULARI MDCCXVII DIE 31 OCT’

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Today I bring you a commemoration of a commemoration! ‘IN MEMORIAM SECUNDI IUBILAEI EVANGELICI ANNO SECULARI MDCCXVII DIE 31 OCT[obris] CELEBRATI SENAT[us] FRANCOFURTI F [ieri] F[ecit] I I F’ The text above is found inscribed on a Reichstaler coin set into the base of a beaker going into the Europe Galleries. The inscription translates as: ‘In […]

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St. Eustace

Detail of PL side of 7821-1861, wheel lock rifle, showing St. Eustace and the stag © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Today is the feast of another of our Holy Helpers, Saint Eustace. In his person is united the graphic design for Jägermeister, a new theory concerning the term ‘family roast’, and the pleas and devotion of nearly two millennia of firemen. Read on, bold traveller of the internet, and be enlightened.   Eustace was a […]

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The Brown Suit: Coup de Bouton!

Steel buttons: Coup de Bouton, etching by William Humphrey, c. 1777. Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University

In my last post I mentioned how ‘Anglomania’ influenced the adoption of darker colours for men’s daytime clothing among the middle and upper classes in late 18th-century France. This move towards a more somber palette brought about a dependency on buttons to create the maximum sartorial impact. A basic rule often seeming to be ‘the […]

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The Brown Suit: Audio Recordings

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The other week I found myself in the Textile Conservation studios, a microphone in front of me, contemplating how much sweat may have soaked into a coat. I should quickly make it clear that it wasn’t a coat being worn by a perspiring colleague, but rather a very smart wool coat dating from the 1780s. […]

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St. Louis of Toulouse

Detail of St. Louis of Toulouse © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

What do discarded crowns, Barcelona and Zac Efron all have in common? The answer is St. Louis of Toulouse (1274-1297). This former bishop was a holy man of impeccable saintly lineage, who could count King St. Louis IX of France, St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Margaret of Hungary among his hallowed family tree. He […]

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Pope St. Sixtus II

1198-1893, medal showing Pope St. Sixtus II, Italy, 16th century (C) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Here we have another medal with another pope on it. This familiar line continues when I tell you that Sixtus II was also the immediate successor to Pope Stephen, who we covered in the previous post, and that he was probably martyred in the same way, and as part of the very same crackdown by […]

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Pope St. Stephen I

Early Christian history can be a minefield of hyperbole and mysticism, of which the life of Pope St. Stephen I (reigned 254 – 257) is a very good example. Having your head cut off would be, in most cases, a fairly conclusive act. It has, however, never been clear whether or not Stephen was violently […]

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