This is the subject hub for the V&A Paintings collection which includes superlative holdings of British watercolours and portrait miniatures as well as over 2,000 British and European oil paintings.
History of the Paintings Collection
The Paintings collection was an original part of the Museum of Ornamental Art, later re-named the Victoria and Albert Museum, which opened at South Kensington in June 1857. From the outset, the link between the fine and applied arts was essential to the V&A’s mission.
Closed Exhibition - Constable: The Making of a Master
20 September 2014 - 11 January 2015. Constable: The Making of Master revealed the hidden stories of how John Constable created some of his most loved and well-known paintings. On display were such famous works as The Haywain together with the oil sketches he painted outdoors direct from nature.
Painting and Drawing in the Archive of Art & Design
The V&A's Archive of Art and Design holds the working papers of individual artists and designers, as well as the records of companies and associations involved in all aspects of applied art and design. The archives can be consulted by appointment at Blythe House, located near Olympia in West London. Further information about the Archives .
The Romantic Tradition in British Painting 1800-1950
In his paintings, prints and poems William Blake strove to visualise the visionary imagery of the Bible, and the epic poetry of Thomas Gray, Milton, Bunyan and Dante. He expressed the essence of his creed in characteristically uncompromising terms as the 'Principal 1st' of his early tract All Religions are One (1788): 'the Poetic Genius is the true Man'.
The V&A holds the national collection of British portrait miniatures, a unique watercolour art form which developed during the reign of Henry VIII and had its heyday in the reign of Queen Victoria before the rise in popularity of photography. The collection contains over 2000 portrait miniatures with foreign examples acquired to provide a wider context.
British Watercolours 1750–1900
The South Kensington Museum, later the Victoria and Albert, opened in 1857. The first catalogue of the museum's collection of watercolours was published only nineteen years later in 1876, by which time the museum had acquired nearly 500 watercolours, today the collection numbers many thousands.
The Raphael Cartoons
The Raphael Cartoons were commissioned by Pope Leo X in 1515 and are among the greatest treasures of the High Renaissance. Painted by Raphael (1483-1520) and his assistants, they are full-scale designs for tapestries that were made to cover the lower walls of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. The tapestries depict the Acts of St Peter and St Paul, the founders of the early Christian Church.
Closed exhibition - M.F. Husain: Master of Modern Indian Painting
M.F. Husain (1915-2011) is one of the most celebrated and internationally recognised Indian artists of the 20th century. Indian Civilization comprises a series of monumental triptych paintings which represent Husain’s vision of the richness of Indian culture and history. Capturing India’s vibrant cities, colourful Hindu festivals, iconic figures and historic events, these unique paintings were on view to the public for the first time.