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‘Unsurpassed Genius’: Godfrey Sykes and the Royal Albert Hall

terracotta cast

  This is one of a series of blog posts by students of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme, to accompany the ‘Building the Royal Albert Hall’ display at the V&A in Room 127 (the entrance to the Architecture Gallery) until 7 January 2018. It is written by Ruth Sykes.       Godfrey Sykes […]

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Terracotta and the Royal Albert Hall: The Spirit of Albertopolis

The façade of the Royal Albert Hall, with terracotta decorations

This is the first in a series of blog posts by students of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme, to accompany the ‘Building the Royal Albert Hall’ display at the V&A in Room 127 (the entrance to the Architecture Gallery) until 7 January 2018. It was written by Elena Porter. The display showcases -amongst other […]

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Introducing…The Leman Album

The Leman album, an enhanced facsimile, is one of the V&A Research Institute’s (VARI)first ‘named’ projects. Containing some 97 vibrantly coloured designs for woven silk by the second-generation Huguenot émigré, James Leman (b.1688), the designs were produced between 1706 and 1716.   They are the earliest known dated designs for woven silk and at some stage in their lifetime were […]

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Recreating Sixteenth-Century Varnishes on the History of Design Course

Brushing the glaze over the paint

As part of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course, during the spring term students have the chance to explore early modern making techniques as a form of historical research through practice.  With the support of V&A curators, conservators and tutors, students recreate early modern recipes to reflect on practices of making and the nature […]

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Experiments with Amber: Recreating an Early Modern Varnish Recipe on the History of Design Course

Amber varnish experimental lab class

As part of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course, during the spring term students have the chance to explore early modern making techniques as a form of historical research through practice.  With the support of V&A curators, conservators and tutors, students recreate early modern recipes to reflect on practices of making and the nature […]

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Experiments with Azurite on the History of Design MA Course

Grinding with a muller

As part of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course, during the spring term students have the chance to explore early modern making techniques as a form of historical research through practice.  With the support of V&A curators, conservators and tutors, students recreate early modern recipes to reflect on practices of making and the nature […]

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Inaugural Annual VARI Symposium by Karen Morton

VARI Symposium

The Inaugural Annual Symposium of the V&A Research Institute (VARI) featured an impressive range of academics from European institutions, each with a fascinating story to tell of how they go about presenting and using their collections. The packed auditorium heard a uplifting and forward thinking introduction by Dr. Tristram Hunt and for many of us this was […]

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People, Places and Things: New Models for Collections-Based Research

A ‘parliament of things’ holds court in an anatomical theatre, precious paintings are suspended for all to see in a giant mirrored bowl, migration histories and scientific mysteries are painstakingly teased out of 300 year-old woven silk and metal – museum research is more adventurous than ever and the inaugural symposium of the V&A Research […]

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The Cabinet of Curiosities: Reflections on modern art historical thinking

Portrait of Elias Ashmole

If you, like me, are curious about cabinets of curiosity, the inaugural Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Lecture on the history of collecting was a key date. Given by esteemed art historian and authority on the history of collecting, Professor Paula Findlen, it was South Kensington’s hottest ticket. If you were disappointed not to get one, […]

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Filming the History of Design experimental lab class

techne video

Two second-year students who took part in the techne seminar/lab, Vivien Chan and Charlotte Slark, created a series of videos to document the lab sessions in the module. Making the films posed various challenges and they offer a record of the changing thought processes, decisions, reflections and surprises that characterised this experimental class. Vivien and […]

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