Britain Can Make It

'Britain Can Make It', colour lithograph poster advertising the exhibition organised by the Council of Industrial  Design, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 24 September – 31 October 1946, designed by Ashley Havinden, Great Britain, 1946, CIRC.459-1971. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

'Britain Can Make It', colour lithograph poster advertising the exhibition organised by the Council of Industrial  Design, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 24 September – 31 October 1946, designed by Ashley Havinden, Great Britain, 1946, CIRC.459-1971. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Diane Bilbey is currently working on a publication for V&A Publishing that will result in a highly visual exploration and celebration of the then popular, but now largely overlooked, 'Britain Can Make It' exhibition, organised by the Council of Industrial Design and hosted at the V&A from September to December 1946.

The exhibition was a showcase for British design and manufacturing, and was a precursor to the more widely celebrated Festival of Britain in 1951. It ran for just three months, but the BCMI exhibition boasted an incredible 1,432,546 visitors, with an average of 20,000 a day.

The book will be illustrated throughout, with a combination of evocative photographs from the exhibition, and with colour photography of the most noteworthy and visually interesting objects and designs. Where possible, essays will be illustrated with objects from the V&A’s collections.

By taking its structure loosely from the exhibition itself and from the accompanying Design ’46 catalogue, this book will take the reader through an eclectic array of subject areas and consumer products. Most chapters will be in the form of short essays, written by V&A curators and external specialists, as well as by Diane herself as author and general editor.

Intended outcome

A scholarly, yet popular publication celebrating the ‘Britain Can Make It’ exhibition, to be published in September 2016 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the exhibition.

Project Lead: Diane Bilbey, Visiting Research Fellow

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Handmade in Britain

Handmade in Britain

This important book forms part of the Handmade in Britain partnership between the V&A and the BBC. Published as the culmination of a year-long sea…

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Event - The Classical World and Classical Revivals

Tue 13 January 2015 10:30

10 WEEK COURSE: The civilisations of Ancient Greece and Rome have provided a seemingly inexhaustible source of inspiration for European art, design and architecture from the 15th-century right up to the present day. This course celebrates the opening of the V&A’s outstanding new galleries – Europe 1600-1800 – by exploring the key elements of Classicism, and their re-interpretation and revival in later times.

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