Past Exhibitions and Displays 2012

Chromazone: Colour in Contemporary Architecture

Chromazone: Colour in Contemporary Architecture

17 November 2012 - 21 July 2013
This display featured key projects by major UK and international architects, who use colour to create identity, define space and heighten our experience of a building.

Michael Lloyd: Twelve Vessels of Life, Love and Death

Michael Lloyd: Twelve Vessels of Life, Love and Death

31 October 2012 - 7 July 2013
This display featured 12 vessels commissioned by patrons, friends, curators and fellow makers who were asked to nominate a time of year that had a particular resonance for them. A silver vessel chased with designs drawn from the natural worlds was created for that individual and their month.

Collecting Abroad for the V&A 1851-1914

Collecting Abroad for the V&A 1851-1914

2 October 2012 – 26 May 2013
This display used rarely-seen personal accounts and official records to tell the stories of five intrepid agents whose mission was to find and buy the best of world art and design for the V&A: Henry Cole and Richard Redgrave (Italy), Robert Murdoch Smith (Iran), Caspar Purdon Clarke (Turkey), and Charles Wylde (China).

Masterpieces of Italian Renaissance Maiolica

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22 September 2012 – 6 May 2013
This exhibition explored the extraordinary imagery of this revolutionary type of tin-glazed pottery painted with a dazzling palette of colours that never fades and which was treasured by popes and princes. It also highlighted maiolica’s many uses including the important social rituals surrounding courtship, marriage and birth.

Inspired by... 2012

Inspired by... 2012

6 October 2012 – 21 April 2013
Inspired by... is the V&A’s annual art, craft and design competition. It encourages part-time students from adult education to use the Museum’s collections as a source of inspiration for their own work. The display showed a selection of artworks made in different media by students of mixed abilities and from diverse backgrounds.

Island Stories: Fifty Years of Photography in Britain

Island Stories: Fifty Years of Photography in Britain

16 March 2012 – 21 April 2013
Drawn exclusively from the V&A collections, this display featured a selection of more than 80 photographs made in the UK since the 1950s. Collectively, they give a picture of life in Britain that reflected upon subjects ranging from landscape and industry to family and community.

Angels and Saints: Four masterpieces of Sacred Silver from the Gilbert Collection

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2 April 2012 – 31 March 2013
This display showed the exquisite craftsmanship and sense of beauty of Antwerp makers from the Baroque to the Neo-classical.

Light from the Middle East: New Photography

Light from the Middle East: New Photography

13 November 2012 - 7 April 2013
The first major exhibition of contemporary photography from and about the Middle East, Light from the Middle East: New Photography featured over 90 works by some of the most exciting artists from across the region.

Read more about Light from the Middle East: New Photography

Waxing and Waning: 19th-century women sculptors and wax modelling

1 September 2012 – 9 March 2013
This display explored the history of wax modelling by British women artists, featuring works that were on view for the first time in over 100 years.

Halfway to Paradise: The Birth of British Rock, Photographs by Harry Hammond

Halfway to Paradise: The Birth of British Rock, Photographs by Harry Hammond

13 October 2012 – 3 March 2013
Halfway to Paradise explores the exceptional work of Harry Hammond, the music photographer who documented the emergence of Rock ‘n’ Roll music in post-war Britain. From Roy Orbison and Ella Fitzgerald to Cliff Richard and Shirley Bassey, the display features more than 60 portraits, behind the scenes and performance shots of leading musicians in the 1950s and 1960s.

Read more about Harry Hammond

Kitty and the Bulldog: Lolita fashion and the influence of Britain

Kitty and the Bulldog

23 April 2012 - 24 February 2013
Kitty and the Bulldog explores the way in which British fashion – notably Victoriana, Punk and Gothic – has influenced the development of Japan’s ‘Lolita’ style, a cult fashion movement whose defining feature has been its preoccupation with cuteness, or ‘kawaii’.
Part of the V&A British Design Season.

Read more about Japanese street style

Hollywood Costume

Hollywood Costume

20 October 2012 - 27 January 2013.
Hollywood Costume explored the central role costume design plays in cinema storytelling. Bringing together over 100 of the most iconic movie costumes from across a century of film-making, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the clothes worn by unforgettable and beloved characters such as Dorothy Gale, Indiana Jones, Scarlett O'Hara, Jack Sparrow, Holly Golightly and Darth Vader.

Read more about Hollywood Costume

Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950

Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 19 May 2012 -6 Jan 2013

19 May 2012 - 6 January 2013
The V&A celebrated the opening of the newly renovated Fashion Galleries with an exhibition of beautiful ballgowns, red carpet evening dresses and catwalk showstoppers. Displayed over two floors, 'Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950' featured more than sixty designs for social events such as private parties, royal balls, state occasions and opening nights.

Read more about Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950

V&A Illustration Awards

11 June – December 2012
The V&A Illustration Awards celebrated the best illustration published in 2011 with a display featuring artworks by the winners. Categories include best illustrated book, book cover, editorial illustration and student illustrator of the year.

Read more about the V&A Illustration Awards 2012

Jain Manuscripts

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14 May 2010 – 31 December 2012
Created to accompany the launch of JAINpedia - an ambitious project digitising Jain manuscripts in the UK - this small display showed finely illustrated Jain manuscript pages from the 15th to 19th centuries.

Read more about Jain manuscripts

Recording Britain

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14 April – 2 December 2012
This collection of watercolours and drawings presented a fascinating account of the country in the early years of the Second World War when lives, landscapes and precious buildings were under threat , not only from bombs but also from the effects of ‘progress’ and development.

Read more about the Recording Britain collection at the V&A

The Silent Traveller

Princes Street in the fog, reproduced in 'The Silent Traveller in Edinburgh', 1948

23 April – 9 November 2012
Chinese artist and writer Chiang Yee (1903-1977) came to Britain in 1933 where he lived and worked until 1955. During this time he wrote a successful series of illustrated travelogues using the pen name ‘Ya xing zhe’ or ‘The Silent Traveller’. This display explored Chiang’s creative endeavours through a selection of original illustrations and sketches from the Silent Traveller series.

Arthur Bispo do Rosário

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13 August – 28 October 2012
The display brought together over 80 artworks ranging from sculptures, hand-embroidered banners and garments, showcasing the variety and creativity of Arthur Bispo do Rosario (1909-1989), one of Brazil’s most recognised artists

Read more about Arthur Bispo do Rosário


King’s Cross: Regenerating a London Landmark

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19 May – 21 October 2012
This display features original drawings, photographs, models, and film footage documenting the work by the lead architects and masterplanners John McAslan + Partners and engineer ARUP to transform London’s King’s Cross Station for Network Rail.

Part of the V&A British Design Season.


Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary

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31 May – 30 September 2012

This exhibition presented the first ever major retrospective on the work of Thomas Heatherwick, one of the most exciting creative practitioners working in the UK today.

Read more about Heatherwick Studio

Transformation and Revelation: Gormley to Gaga. UK design for performance 2007–2011

Lady Gaga's Monster Ball tour (2009-10), set design by Es Devlin. Photograph by Es Devlin.

17 March – 30 September 2012
This display revealed contemporary designs for performance by over 30 British theatre designers. Costumes, set models, photographs, drawings, sound productions and lighting designs all featured and designs included Sutra by Antony Gormley, War Horse by Rae Smith and Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour by Es Devlin.
Part of the V&A British Design Season.

George W Adamson: A Twentieth-Century Illustrator

The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner, cover illustration by George W. Adamson, 1965. Published by Penguin Books in association with Collins. Museum no. NAL 38041802088054. Donated by Anne Renier and F.G. Renier.

3 April – 30 September 2012
George W Adamson (1913 –2005) was a prolific printmaker, illustrator and cartoonist. This display featured a selection from Adamson’s wide ranging work as an illustrator of books and magazines.
Part of the V&A British Design Season.

Untarnished, Contemporary British Silversmiths

Sinew vase, designed and made by Kevin Grey, Britannia Silver

3 April – 30 September 2012
The Contemporary British Silversmiths brought together the work of some of the best silversmiths currently practising in Britain. The display focused on the theme Fit for Purpose, exploring the function of each object both practically and conceptually.
Part of the V&A British Design Season.

In Praise of Sport

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27 July – 9 September 2012
In Praise of Sport is a unique handmade volume of art, prose and poetry. It is the result of a collective project by the community of HM Prison Wandsworth. It was conceived by Peter Wayne, a prisoner at Wandsworth until his release in June 2012, and involved the input of many prisoners and prison staff over one year.

Hanging Out

7 May – 4 September 2012
Hanging Out looked at youth culture in the 1950s and 60s and its influence on young people today. The display was the result of a project which brought together historic material with work made by over one hundred youths from a wide range of cultural backgrounds.

Queensberry Hunt

14 April – 2 September 2012
The ceramic design consultancy Queensberry Hunt has been responsible for some of the most familiar and best-selling tableware of recent years. This display showcased four decades of their design, including new projects.

The New Medallists

11 February – 19 August 2012
The New Medallists are Natasha Ratcliffe, Petra Mills, Sara Richards, Chloe Shaw, Phoebe Stannard and Heidi Hinder. In this display, the New Medallists told us the thoughts behind the medals they created and how works by their mentors and objects from the V&A collections inspired their practice.

Read more about the New Medallists

Japanese Enamels: the Seven Treasures

14 June 2011 – 19 August 2012
This display of over one hundred and twenty objects ranged from elegant inlaid metalwork of the late 17th century through the Golden Age and into the 20th century.

Britain Creates 2012: Fashion + Art Collusion

6 July – 29 July 2012
Leading British fashion designers and visual artists collaborated in a ground-breaking series of works commissioned as part of the London 2012 Festival. The pairs were given a completely open brief to see what would emerge from the dialogue between their respective disciplines. The results encompassed sculpture, video, music and photography.

Read more about Britain Creates 2012: Fashion + Art Collusion

Golden Spider Silk

25 January – 5 June 2012
This display showcased the world’s largest pieces of cloth made from spider silk. It included a brocaded shawl made from the silk of more than one million female golden orb-weaver spiders collected in the highlands of Madagascar, as well as a cape on public display for the first time.

 Read more about Golden Spider Silk

On Eagle's Wings: British adventure comics, 1950-1969

7 January - 27 May 2012
As part of the V&A British Design Season, this display showcased boys’ and girls’ titles from the 1950s and 60s, drawing predominantly on material from the Museum's collections.

Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration

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8 February - 22 April 2012.
Featuring portraits of Queen Elizabeth II by royal photographer Cecil Beaton, this exhibition celebrated Her Majesty in her roles as princess, monarch and mother and coincided with the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

Read more about Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration

The Château de Juvisy Appeal

We need your help to raise £500,000 to acquire the Baroque oil painting of the Château de Juvisy, by Pierre-Denis Martin, court painter to Louis XIV in time for the opening of the Europe 1600-1800 galleries.

Help us buy The Château de Juvisy

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David Bowie is a Face in the Crowd Exhibition Bag||EVAEX||RHFPR

David Bowie is a Face in the Crowd Exhibition Bag||EVAEX||RHFPR

Exclusive tote bag commemorating the V&A exhibition, David Bowie is 23 March – 28 July 2013. Image adapted from 'Session photograph for…

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Event - Beatrix Potter: the Land, the Seasons and the War (WWI)

Tue 21 January 2014–Sun 12 October 2014

DISPLAY: A year after Beatrix Potter married and moved to live full time in her beloved Lake District, the First World War broke out. As a farmer and land owner, she came to experience the changes the war brought to rural life in Britain.

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