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Highlights in this issue

Sacred Space in the Modern Museum: Researching and Redisplaying the Santa Chiara Chapel in the V&A’s Medieval & Renaissance Galleries

In 1860 John Charles Robinson purchased the 15th-century high altar chapel from the Florentine convent church of Santa Chiara for the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A). Rebuilt piece by piece in London, the chapel’s Florentine context was gradually forgotten. New research for the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries reveals Santa Chiara’s complex history, artistic significance, and original Renaissance arrangement.

From Silence: A Persepolis Relief in the Victoria and Albert Museum

A recent review of the V&A’s sculpture collection brought to light an unexpected fragment of bas-relief. This unassuming grey rock has an impressive provenance, purporting to come from the Achaemenid site of Persepolis, Iran. In storage since its acquisition in 1916, the fragment is contextualised for the first time in this article, restoring its place in history and its relation to the Museum’s 20th-century collecting practices.

Finding the Divine Falernian: Amber in Early Modern Italy

This paper explores both the finding of raw amber, and the creation of sculptural works in this venerated material, in Italy, from the late-16th to the 18th centuries. Using new archival and archaeological evidence, it offers new interpretation and context for a number of amber objects in the V&A’s collection.

‘La Chapellerie’: A Preparatory Sketch for the ‘Service des Arts Industriels’

A small round print, La Chapellerie, depicting the inside of a Parisian hat maker’s shop in the early-19th century, was recently acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum. This print is a rare survival, attesting to the production of a dinner service from which the finished wares have all but disappeared.