Paintings

Rooms 81-82

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The V&A Paintings collection includes British and European oil and watercolour paintings as well as over 2,000 miniatures, for which the Museum holds the national collection. Highlights include the Raphael Cartoons and major works by J. M. W. Turner and John Constable.

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The Paintings collection was an original part of the Museum of Ornamental Art, later re-named the Victoria and Albert Museum, which opened at South Kensington in June 1857. In that year John Sheepshanks offered the Museum his collection of around 500 modern British oil paintings, watercolours and drawings to found a 'National Gallery of British Art'. He preferred the 'open and airy situation' of South Kensington to the polluted atmosphere of central London, and believed in the importance of making art accessible to the public. The first of his galleries opened in 1857 and is the earliest surviving part of the V&A.

Exploring Paintings

Photo of Boat building near Flatford Mill, John Constable (1776 - 1837), about 1815, England. Museum no. CIS.  FA.3. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Boat building near Flatford Mill, John Constable (1776 - 1837), about 1815, England. Museum no. CIS. FA.3. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of ‘The Miraculous Draught of Fishes’, Raphael, 1515-16. On loan from HM Queen Elizabeth II; rcin 912944, (Luke 5:1-11)
‘The Miraculous Draught of Fishes’, Raphael, 1515-16. On loan from HM Queen Elizabeth II; rcin 912944, (Luke 5:1-11)

Photo of Sour orange, Citrus aurantium, Vincenzo Leonardi. Museum no. E.427-2009. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Sour orange, Citrus aurantium, Vincenzo Leonardi. Museum no. E.427-2009. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Portrait miniature of A Young Man Leaning Against a Tree Amongst Roses, possibly Robert Deveraux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1566-1601), Nicholas Hilliard, 1585-95. Museum no. P.163-1910. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Portrait miniature of A Young Man Leaning Against a Tree Amongst Roses, possibly Robert Deveraux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1566-1601), Nicholas Hilliard, 1585-95. Museum no. P.163-1910. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Disappointed Love, Francis Danby (1793 - 1861), 1821, England. Museum no. CIS FA.65[O]. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Disappointed Love, Francis Danby (1793 - 1861), 1821, England. Museum no. CIS FA.65[O]. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Lion - A Newfoundland Dog, Sir Edwin Landseer, 1824, England. Museum no. 852-1894. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Lion - A Newfoundland Dog, Sir Edwin Landseer, 1824, England. Museum no. 852-1894. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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