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Highlights in this issue

An Unusual Embroidery of Mary Magdalene

The recent discovery of an anonymous 17th-century embroidered picture of Mary Magdalene raises questions about the use of domestic embroidery in the early modern home. Iconographically unique, the embroidery does not fit within established historiographical understandings of the nature and uses of women’s needlework. By focusing on the visual qualities of the ‘embroidery-as-object’ rather than the rhetoric surrounding ‘embroidery-as-activity’, this article addresses the possibility that this piece could have functioned as a devotional rather than simply decorative object

Printed Sources for a South German Games Board

A late 16th-century, south German games board, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is veneered with ebony and engraved bone. By identifying the print sources for most of the engraved ornament, and analysing their selection and use, a clearer picture is offered of the board’s design, manufacture and uses

Out of the Shadows: The Façade and Decorative Sculpture of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Part 1

In 1909, the architect Sir Aston Webb completed a three-storey façade extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Built at a time of rising wealth and public patronage, coupled with unprecedented innovation across industries, the Webb wing – spanning a 12,120m2 site – reflects the emergence of new civic centres with buildings that had greater input from pioneering contemporary sculptors. At a time when national pride and modernity were intersecting in prominent urban spaces through sculpture and architecture, this first article (of three) summarises sculpture’s initial subordination to architecture, their growing symbiosis and the increasingly collaborative role that artists of the New Sculpture movement played in these emerging public buildings

Gestures, Ritual & Play: Interview with Liam O’Connor

Liam O’Connor, Drawing Resident at the V&A (April 2014-April 2015), discusses his work on the Exhibition Road building site in an interview with Lina Hakim, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Museum