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“Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’”: Experiments with Amber

Pulverising the amber

This post was written by History of Design MA students taking part in the course’s ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab class. Katie Vann, Melissa Tyler and Rebecca Goozee reflect on their experience of interpreting a varnish recipe from a sixteenth-century French manuscript, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris: The recipe presented us with various […]

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‘Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’’: Re-creating a Sixteenth-Century Copal Varnish

Stirring the viscous copal mixture

This post was written by second-year student, Melissa Tyler, one of a group of V&A/RCA History of Design MA students participating in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab. On a cold, blustery February morning we arrived at Blythe House, home to one of the largest storage facilities of the Victoria and Albert Museum. We were […]

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Reimagining Objects: A History of Design Exhibition

Riding Jacket

  This post was written by second-year student, Melissa Tyler, on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA. Tucked away from most of the museum is a small, light-filled library used by the V&A/RCA History of Design Masters Degree.  The course is internationally recognized as the leading postgraduate programme for the study of the History of […]

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Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’: Cooking From a Sixteenth-Century Lavender Spike Oil Recipe

Heating lavender spike oil

This post was written by second-year students, Sophie Châtellier and Matilde Audisio, members of a group of V&A/RCA History of Design MA students taking part in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab in the spring term. One of its aims was to recreate a series of recipes from a sixteenth-century French technical manuscript.   On […]

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Open Repositories 2016

Original front entrance doors to the Victoria & Albert Museum; bronze; now in the Pirelli Garden; 
designed by James Gamble & Reuben Townroe (1835 - 1911), based on designs by Godfrey Sykes (1824 - 66), made by G.Franchi & Sons; 
English (London); 1868.

‘Better it is to get wisdom than gold’ Motto above the original entrance to the V&A As the V&A has recently launched its research institute VARI, and is obliged to make its publicly funded project outcomes (currently journal articles, excluding monographs at present – see AHRC Open Access ) available to all under open access, […]

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Adolphe Bilordeaux: Photographs as Drawing Lessons

Albumen print of the cast of a hand by Adolphe Bilordeaux

            You may have noticed from my last post that we are currently working through our collection of photographs of sculpture. This set has been my favourite so far – it is a series of photographs of plaster casts of sculpture. The original sculptures the casts were made from date from the Classical era, […]

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John Singer Sargent and Spanish processional sculpture: Guest post


Today’s post is by guest blogger Chloe Sharpe, a PhD candidate in History of Art at the University of York, whose doctorate is funded by the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH). On her PhD placement project, developed within the V&A-WRoCAH partnership scheme, Chloe has been researching Sargent’s collection of Spanish photographs […]

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Street Photography in Gallery 100

Mark Cohen, 'Belly Button Cartwheel', 1975

A few weeks ago, Gallery 100 bade farewell to the Julia Margaret Cameron exhibition and reverted back to its usual role: a permanent photographs gallery, displaying works that narrate a history of photography. Since 2015, this broad brief has been tackled thematically, with the focus now on ‘the body’. The display opened on March 11th […]

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William Kineton Parkes and sculptors of the twenties

Frank Dobson (1887-1963)
Photograph of a sculpture  titled 'Susannah'

We are always keen to discover links between objects, so we were delighted recently to find that a collection of photographs we hold connect directly to archival records in the Archive of Art and Design. The link between these involves one man, the art historian, novelist, and librarian, William Kineton Parkes (1865-1938). Kineton Parkes was particularly […]

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Guest post: Plaster cast of Michelangelo’s David in the plaster cast workshop of the Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels

PICTURE 1 : David in the Brussels plaster cast workshop ©KMKG-MRAH, Brussels

Nele Strobbe is Head of the Plaster Cast Workshop at the Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels The plaster cast of Michelangelo’s David at the Victoria and Albert Museum has, in addition to his ‘cousin’ in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, another one in Brussels. Currently most of this David […]

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