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Cast iron balcony front

Cast iron balcony front, designed by Robert and James Adam, probably made by the Carron Company, Falkirk, c.1773.  V&A: M.428-1936, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Name: Joanna Norman   

Role: Senior Curator, Research
Lead Curator, Scottish Design Galleries, V&A Museum of Design Dundee

Research Interests prose

My research interests focus on 17th- and 18th-century European art and design, principally that of Italy and France. As part of my work on the Europe 1600-1800 galleries I have been researching pieces of Italian furniture in the V&A’s collections, looking especially at the use of print sources for furniture design and at the relationships between designers, sculptors, cabinet-makers and carvers in early modern Italy. I am also interested in baroque style and its dissemination, and the interplay between architecture, decoration and furnishings in early modern Italian interiors. 

Much of my current work focuses on period rooms and the reconstruction of historic interiors inside and outside the museum environment.

As a musician I am passionate about music, theatre and performance history and musical instruments.  I have published and lectured on opera, theatre and set design, and ephemeral events ranging from fireworks to the Venetian carnival.

As Lead Curator for the Scottish Design Galleries at V&A Museum of Design Dundee (due to open in 2018) I also work on Scottish design of the last 500 years across all media.  I am particularly interested in the global spread of Scottish design, and the relationship between design and industry, trade and natural resources.

I also work with Bill Sherman on overseeing the research and development of V&A exhibitions from within the Research department.

Selected Research Outputs (Exhibitions)

Scottish Design Galleries, V&A Museum of Design Dundee, Lead Curator (opening 2018)

Europe 1600-1800, Curator (V&A permanent galleries, opening 2015)

Handmade in Britain, Researcher & Co-ordinator (V&A / BBC4 series, broadcast 2011-12)

Treasures from Budapest: Leonardo to Schiele, Co-Curator (Royal Academy of Arts, autumn 2010)

Baroque 1620-1800: Style in the Age of Magnificence, Assistant Curator (V&A, spring 2009)  

Selected Published Writings/ Papers


Handmade in Britain (V&A Publishing, 2012)

Exhibition catalogues

‘Performance’, ‘Music at Home’, ‘The Parisian Townhouse’, ‘La Tournerie’ in The Arts of Living, ed. Elizabeth Miller and Hilary Young (V&A Publishing, forthcoming, 2015)

‘Religious Splendour’ in Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces 1600-1800 from the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A Publishing, 2010)

‘Baroque Art and Design for the Theatre’, ‘Opera’, ‘The Castle Theatre of Český Krumlov’  in Baroque 1620-1800: Style in the Age of Magnificence, edited by Michael Snodin and Nigel Llewellyn, assisted by Joanna Norman (V&A Publishing, 2009)


‘Performance and Politics in the Urban Spaces of Baroque Rome’ in Perspectives on Public Space in Rome, edited by Gregory Smith and Jan Gadeyne (Ashgate, April 2013)

‘Stefano della Bella: Ein Meister der Barockradierung’, Print Quarterly, XXIII, 2006, 2 (pp.186–187)


‘New discoveries and ongoing challenges: redisplaying period rooms in the V&A’s new Europe 1600-1800 galleries’ (Musée du Louvre, November 2014)

‘Intagliatori e scultori: the relationship between sculptors and carvers in 17th- and 18th-century Italy’ (paper given at the annual symposium of the Furniture History Society, London, March 2014)

‘In ‘public’ and in ‘private’: a study of festival in 17th-century Rome’ (PALATIUM conference ‘Making Space for Festival’, Venice, March 2013)

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