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The Guard Book Project – Photographic Styles and Techniques : A Snapshot of Change

10 Iinch by 8 inch plate camera by Bukre & James

Photographic Style & Techniques : A Snapshot of Change 1930 – 49 The current sequence of this digitisation project involves the pages of the Guard Books 1930 – 1949, and it has enabled us to look some of the differences, or indeed, the similarities of the process of photographing an object, during this period as compared […]

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Against a Pile of Ashes

The following is the lead catalogue essay for ‘A World of Fragile Parts’, the inaugural exhibition for the Pavilion of Applied Arts at the Venice Biennale, which was on display last year for the duration of the Architecture Biennale. The exhibition was curated by Brendan Cormier and Danielle Thom, and looked at how the V&A’s 19th […]

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Guest Post: Michelangelo’s David – Part 3: Constructing a full-scale model

Lead sculptor smoothing finish surface coat of plaster. Image courtesy of the 20th Century Fox

Author Chris Seagers is an Art Director and Production Designer who recently collaborated with Ridley Scott on Alien: Covenant (2017). In the Alien: Covenant script, director Ridley Scott wanted to create a prologue sequence. This would be an engagement between a synthetic (Michael Fassbender) and his maker (Guy Pearce) in a philosophical conversation ‘if you […]

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Guest post: Michelangelo’s David – Part 2: By-product of the movie industry allows for historical investigation of David’s cast

Data being captured with LiDAR laser scanner (foreground) and photography (background). Image Johanna Puisto © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Jonathan Fletcher MRICS is a Technical Specialist at Plowman Craven, UK’s leading specialist chartered surveyors in 3D scanning.   One of the most famous statues in the world is Michelangelo’s depiction of David as he stands poised to face the giant Goliath, armed with the latest technology of his time, a trebuchet sling. Armed with […]

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Michelangelo’s David – Part 1: Creating virtual copies of casts

Plaster figure of Michelangelo's David (Mus.no. Repro.161-1857) during scanning at the Weston Cast Court Gallery. Image ©Plowman Craven

I often receive enquiries about the V&A’s plaster cast of Michelangelo’s David (Mus.no. 161-1857), which I have been researching since I cleaned and conserved it between 2013-14. Last year I received an unusual request for a 3D scan of the cast so a 1:1 physical model could be generated and used as a featured prop […]

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Preparation of three 14th century gravestones for a display at the National Museum of Oman

Shaykh Mohammad’s gravestone (Mus. number A.5-1932) © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A while ago, I was asked to assess the condition of three 14th century gravestones, which have since travelled to a newly built National Museum of Oman in Muscat. The gravestones are beautiful in themselves, but they also tell a very interesting story about trade in the Indian Ocean. They were carved at Khambhat in Gujarat from […]

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Tiepolo’s Apollo and Daphne

G.B. Tiepolo, Apollo and Daphne © V&A Museum

Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne was universally admired during the 17th century. In Filippo Baldinucci‘s Life of Bernini (1598-1680), the marble group of Apollo and Daphne is cast as the youthful sculptor’s first great public triumph. Baldinucci describes the statue’s reception as follows: “Immediately when it was seen to have been finished, there arose […]

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The Ethics of Dust: Trajan’s Column

Art installation made of conservation latex that has been used to ‘clean’ the hollow inside of the cast of Trajan’s Column.

If you missed Jorge’s installation at the V&A, or would like to see more of his work, a new commission for ‘ The Ethics of Dust ‘ is currently on display in Westminster Hall, Palace of Westminster, London. https://www.artangel.org.uk/project/the-ethics-of-dust/   Sarah Healey-Dilkes, Senior Sculpture Conservator Jorge Otero-Pailos, Artist, Architect, Preservationist SHD: Your artwork, ‘The Ethics of Dust: […]

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Adolphe Bilordeaux: Photographs as Drawing Lessons

            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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