20 Great Reasons to Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum

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20 Great Reasons to Visit the V&A


Reason 1

This is the earliest of the great marble groups by Giambologna. Commissioned by Francesco de’ Mediciin Florence, it was later presented to King Charles I in 1623.


Reason 2

Originally belonging to Consuelo Duchess of Manchester, this sunning tiara was inspired by the style of pre-revolution France.


Reason 3

The Portland Vase marks perhaps the greatest achievement by the English potter and manufacturer Josiah Wedgwood – a duplicate of a Roman cameo vase.


Reason 4

This UFO-like chair has a curious Cold War history: its West German manufacturer illicitly sold plastics technology to an East German factory. In return, the socialist factory produced about 14,000 of these chairs.


Reason 5

Husband and wife Libenský and Brychtováare two of the most important figures in modern glassmaking. This piece perfectly illustrates their pioneering technique of mould-melting.


Reason 6

Mentioned in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, this 11-by-10 foot wide bed was originally made as a marketing ploy to attract travellers to one of the inns at Ware.


Reason 7

This Buddha represents the Perfect One. An inscription on the base says that through seeing the image, the believer can also achieve enlightenment.


Reason 8

The Day Dreamis one of the last major oils executed by Rossetti before his death. The model is Jane Morris, who at the time was involved in an illicit love affair with the painter.


Reason 9

Worn by Mick Jagger on the Rolling Stones 1972 tour, and designed by Ossie Clark, this slim jumpsuit perfectly illustrates the fusion between fashion and pop.


Reason 10

This massive column is cast from an original made for the Roman emperor Trajen around 100 AD. It was made to celebrate his victory over the tribes of the Danube.


Reason 11

The engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel is here shown against the backdrop of the chains that were used to launch the ship he designed, at the time the largest ship afloat.


Reason 12

This jewel was given to Sir Thomas Heneage by Elizabeth I.The reverse of the jewel shows a ship holding steady on a stormy sea, symbolising the Protestant church steered by the Queen through religious turmoil.


Reason 13

This remarkable reconfigured chest of drawers was one of the most startling designs of the 1990s. Each drawer was salvaged from an existing piece of furniture.


Reason 14

The wooden model of a tiger attacking a European was made for Tipu Sultan. A mechanical organ inside the figure imitates the growling of the tiger, and the unfortunate man’s moan.


Reason 15 

Commissioned as one of a pair, the Ardabil Carpet is one of the largest and finest carpets in existence. There 4914 knots in every 10sq centimetres.


Reason 16

This suit represents a new fashion in men’s wear, introduced by Charles II and inspired by Louis XIV of France.


Reason 17

The V&A has in its collection five of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, which reveal how the original Renaissance man thought. They contain some of his most complex and challenging designs.


Reason 18

Best know for creating settings which have a strong sculptural quality, set designer Ralph Koltai dates his interest in reflective material to this design for the National Theatre’s As You Like It.


Reason 19

This unique candlestick is a masterpiece of English metalwork. The dense decoration includes men and monsters in combat, illustrating the struggle between light and darkness.



Reason 20

William Morris famously said have nothing in your house known to be useful or beautiful. The V&A has the largest collection of his work in the world.


The V&A is the world's greatest museum of art and design, and it contains thousands of reasons to pay a visit. This film is a quick look at some of the museum's highlights -- to ensure that first-time visitors don't miss them, and so that V&A devotees will remember what makes the V&A special.

We look forward to seeing you in South Kensington.

Victoria and Albert Museum
South Kensington


The V&A is the world's greatest museum of art and design, and it contains thousands of reasons to pay a visit...