Designated the National Collection of Sculpture, this collection concentrates on Western European Sculpture from the 4th century to the end of the 19th century. Highlights of the collection include masterpieces from the Italian Renaissance, ivory carvings of all periods, Northern European wood and other sculpture, commemorative medals and plaster casts. The sculpture collection contains approximately 22,000 objects.
'Samson Slaying a Philistine', by Giambologna, 1560-2
The only monumental marble sculpture by Giambologna ever to have left Florence was acquired by the Museum in 1953 with the assistance of the National Art-Collections fund. This marble sculpture is a good example of the multiple viewpoints seen in Giambologna’s work.
'Neptune and Triton' by Gianlorenzo Bernini
Created by Gianlorenzo (Giovanni Lorenzo) Bernini in 1622–3, this sculpture depicts the life-size figure of Neptune, who wields his trident in a firm gesture of command, astride the sea-god Triton, who blows on his conch shell to the four corners of the world.
The Ascension Relief by Donatello, 1428-30
Donatello is regarded as one of the greatest sculptors of the 1400s and this marble panel is one of the finest surviving examples of his innovative work in extremely low relief. You can listen to a description of the panel, and learn more about the life of Donatello in a second audio.
Caesar Invading Britain by John Deare
Caesar Invading Britain by John Deare was acquired by the V&A in October 2011. The large marble relief displays his astonishing technique and narrative mastery and can justly be considered as one of his two major masterpieces. It was carved in Rome between 1791 and 1796.
Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass Department
The Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass (SMCG) cares for over 110,000 objects reflecting, primarily, European history and design. We make these collections accessible through gallery displays, exhibitions, publications, talks, web pages and loans.
First opened in 1873, the Cast Courts were purpose built to house one of the most comprehensive collections of casts of post-classical European sculpture. 24 metres in height, the two galleries house some of the V&A’s largest objects and are among the most popular in the Museum. Renovation has recently taken place on The Weston Cast Court (Gallery 46b), which re-opened to the public in November 2014. The Court has been named in recognition of The Garfield Weston Foundation’s longstanding and generous support of the V&A. With further support from The Henry Moore Foundation, Patricia Wengraf Ltd., The Salomon Oppenheimer Philanthropic Foundation, and Sam Fogg.
The collection contains ivory carvings of all periods as well as outstanding and numerous examples of medieval ivories. The extensive collection of medieval ivories was established by the end of the 1860s through a series of purchases from the London dealer John Webb and greatly strengthened by the Salting Bequest in 1910.