Tag: National Art Library

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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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Easier to read than ‘War and Peace’ – Tolstoy’s tales for children

L. N. Tolstoy, ‘Dlya malen'kikh’ [For Little Ones], Illustrated by A. Pakhomov. Leningrad : Detgiz, 1954. Donated by Ronald Horton. NAL: 36.AA.141 / 38041800576498

The nation is gripped by the BBC’s adaptation of Tolstoy’s epic novel ‘War and Peace’. For some this is their first introduction to the work of Tolstoy but for Russian children he is one of the first authors they meet, through the many stories and educational books he wrote for them.   Although born into […]

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Libraries: Pleasure & Pain

Joseph Sparkes Hall 'Book of the Feet' photographed in the gallery of the NAL.
©Anita Capewell

Anita Capewell, a V&A volunteer working with the Visitor Services team and in the NAL, follows a trail that begins with a tiny leather bound copy of ‘The Book of the Feet’ in the National Art Library and ends up, via Queen Victoria’s boots, in a galaxy far, far away. As you enter the Shoes: […]

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A Shifting Snow Maiden

The Little Daughter of the Snow, illustrated by G. I. Narbut, 1906, NAL pressmark 36.BB.1.

Anyone with small children will know that snow maidens have had a resurgence in popularity in the last few years thanks to a certain ubiquitous Disney film, but this is only the latest in a long history of snowy maidens in folk and fairy stories. In this blog I’m going to look at the Russian […]

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The owls are not what they seem…

Mezzotint_Avati

While on the lookout for spooky creatures to blog about for Halloween I noticed something curious – why are there so many owls in the Word and Image collection? It soon became clear that most of them were donated by the same man, Walter Strachan, but this raised more questions – who was he, how did his collection […]

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‘Mde de Maupeou prays Mr Barbier to give the courier thirteen aunes of cloth … ‘

38041800167801 Letter from a series of Letters & Orders addressed to M. Barbier - Marchand de soie de la famille Royale & to his partner Tétard; French (Paris); c.1755 - c.95. National Art Library

Mde de Maupeou prays Mr Barbier to give the courier thirteen aunes of cloth following the selected sample; he would also like to put them on his bill. Ableiges 31 August 1789   Mde de Maupeau The Europe Galleries will boast a display dedicated to ‘Silks’. Considering the progression of 18th-century silk fashions ‘from design to […]

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Intrepid Artists – William Hodges and a voyage towards the South Pole

Crew of the Resolution collecting ice for drinking water

240 years ago, on the 30th July 1775, a remarkable voyage came to an end at Portsmouth.  Having set sail in 1772 the “Resolution” and its sister ship “Adventure”, led by Captain James Cook, had spent three years traversing the Southern Hemisphere, recording previously un-charted waters and islands and making contact with their inhabitants.  On board the “Resolution” was a […]

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Temporary National Art Library store closure

The National Art Library Toshiba Gallery Store will be closed from the 30th May 2015 until mid-October 2015. This is so that essential work can take place to ensure that the site continues to provide suitable storage for our collections into the future. Unfortunately this will affect the retrieval of the following pressmarks currently stored […]

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Born on This Day: Ole Worm – collector extraordinaire

worm crop

‘… [your] name and glory is not only renowned among one people and nation, but across the earth, wherever scientific and learned studies are practised and honoured.’ These rather adulatory words were penned to describe today’s ‘born on this day’ star, Ole Worm, the Danish physician, professor, antiquary, and collector extraordinaire born in 1588. As well as […]

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Queer and Now!

queer and now

And so with another unashamedly promotional post, I am back to announce that the line-up for this month’s Friday Late has now been made public! From the fringes of the underground to the drag divas taking over the mainstream, this is a world where pretty much anything can be ‘queered’. Join us as we turn a […]

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