Tag: National Art Library

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The Real Game of Thrones – Medieval Seats of Power

MSL/1902/1649 folio 78 r, Book of Hours, French, ca. 1425. © V&A Museum.

Fans of Games of Thrones know how impressive an important seat of power can be. This is also true in medieval manuscripts where images of thrones feature often when depicting earthly and heavenly rulers. You don’t, however, always need a fancy throne like the Iron Throne of Westeros to show your importance; any chair with […]

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Colour In Our Collections

Voysey

It seems as if everyone has gone colouring book mad, so what better time to share some examples we have in the archive and offer a chance for you to have a go yourself? One of the most fascinating collections we hold at Blythe House is the Renier Collection, the largest special collection of children’s […]

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National Art Library bank holiday weekend closure

A reminder to all our users that the National Art Library will be closed for the bank holiday weekend from 18.30 on Friday 29th April, and will re-open at 10.00 on Tuesday 3rd May. You can order your items ahead of your visit for when we re-open: advance orders received after 16:30 on the Friday will […]

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Tradition and transformation in 19th century bookbinding

Voyages de Gulliver dans les Contrées Lointaines / Jonathan Swift. Museum no. Circ-186-1948

The 19th century was a time of great change in European bookbinding. Social and educational reform of the previous century had led to increased levels of literacy which in turn resulted in a greater demand for books from a much wider public. The book industry responded to this demand by seeking cheaper and quicker methods of […]

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From Artifice to Artefact

collage

As assistant curator of loans in the Word and Image department it is my job to make sure that everything that goes on exhibition from our collections is properly documented and prepared for display. The Word and Image department (WID) houses the V&A’s collections of Prints, Drawings, Paintings, Photographs, The National Art Library and the […]

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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 Experience 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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