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Cast a clout and get your umbrella out

It’s spring time! The sun is out, ‘clouts’ are being cast left right and centre*, and everyone is looking a little bit happier. What better time then, to talk about umbrellas? After all, the aforementioned sun is still fighting those fluffy limelight-stealing clouds for our attentions and the ‘threat’ of rain is a spring time […]

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Frontispiece to 1620 version of 'Don Quixote' NAL: Dyce 2000. ©V&A Museum.

Searching for Don Quixote in the NAL

In Spain, there are efforts afoot to discover the exact location of the grave of one of the country’s greatest writers, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Despite the instant popularity of his masterpiece ‘Don Quixote’, he died in poverty and was buried somewhere in the Convent of Trinitarians in Madrid, but the exact location is unknown.  […]

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‘The Arrival of the Turkey from Goa,’ from The Jahangirnama, Ustad Mansur, ca. 1612. © Victoria & Albert Museum.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Factory!

With the last days of November approaching, many American minds are turning to their Thanksgiving celebrations. Since becoming an official federal holiday in 1863, the last Thursday of the month has been reserved for visiting family and friends, watching the (American) football game, and sharing an enormous turkey dinner. Having spent weeks eagerly reviewing my […]

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The finished panel. Museum no. C.317-1927.

Stained Glass on Paper: Morris & Co. and the Pre-Raphaelites

[Stained glass] is a very limited art and its limitations are its strength. (Edward Burne-Jones, 1897) The qualities needed in the design […] are beauty and character of outline; exquisite, clear, precise drawing of incident. (William Morris, 1890) In my previous post, I looked at some early stained glass designs, and mentioned how the established techniques […]

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How to dress like a lady

‘How to dress on £15 a year as a lady by a lady’ was published by Frederick Warne in 1873. It was one of series of pocket sized “Useful Books” and cost a shilling. In the introduction, a Lady, actually Millicent Whiteside Cook, author of several books on economy, has no illusions about her work […]

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The results are in…

  We would like to thank all of the hundreds of people who completed the National Art Library’s recent user satisfaction survey. Each year there are around 35,000 visits to our Library, while many more people use our online services including making enquiries, placing copying orders, consulting subject guides and looking at ebooks. The information gained from […]

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Constable’s Quill

Did Constable use a steel nibbed pen? a reed, or a quill for his ink drawings? Sometimes, preparing the prints, drawings and paintings for an exhibition gives us a good opportunity to start to ponder these kinds of questions… Looking at the back of Constable’s Study of Poppies (Paintings Conservation interns, Arabella and Morgan talked about this work in our […]

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Credit Crunch

Bang in the middle of the display ‘A World to Win. Posters of Revolution’ you come across an eye catching hot pink, black and white spotty slogan screenprint that screams out from the gallery ‘There’s A Credit Crunch Not A Creative Crunch’. The creative industries battle cry – designed and printed by Aida Wild. Aida […]

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Photograph of Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming : Bibliophile

Ian Fleming died fifty years ago on 12 August 1964, succumbing at the age of 56 to what he termed the ‘Iron Crab’ of heart disease, after a life spent with the same intensity as his enduring hero James Bond. The character shares most of his creator’s enthusiasms – cocktails, casinos, the Caribbean, scrambled eggs, […]

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Lovat drawing crop

A Poppy for Claud

When artist and illustrator Claud Lovat Fraser enlisted in the army in 1914 he had already established himself as a young man with a fine career ahead of him. After a year at Westminster School of Art where he counted Walter Sickert amongst his tutors, he set up a small publishing house with some friends […]

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