Watercolours of the Great Exhibition
These eleven watercolours were made just before the Great Exhibition opened and are part of a larger group of images that were reproduced both as colour and monochrome lithographs in different versions of 'Recollections of the Great Exhibition', a lavish contemporary souvenir guide.
British Watercolours 1750-1900: The Watercolour Societies of the 19th Century
The establishment of exhibition societies was one of the great innovations in artistic life in 18th-century Britain. The Society of Artists opened in 1760 and the Royal Academy held its first exhibition in 1769. Watercolours at these early exhibitions were exhibited as 'drawings' which had been 'stained' or 'tinted'.
Victorian Sentimental Prints, Drawings & Watercolours
Scenes of tender feeling were popular during the Victorian period. They became associated with the home as they were ideal for display in family rooms and traditionally female spaces such as the parlour. The popularity of sentimental pictures coincided with technological innovations in the print trade that enabled these images to be produced quickly and cheaply.
Master drawings, watercolours and prints from the Ionides Bequest
Constantine Alexander Ionides (1833–1900) was an intimate of fashionable artistic circles in London and an enthusiastic and adventurous collector. His bequest to the V&A has long formed one of the cornerstones of the Museum's art collections. The principal oil paintings hang on permanent show, but the master drawings, watercolours and prints do not. These reveal the wider range of Constantine Ionides' tastes and collecting.
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.
Approximately 100,000 drawings made in Europe and the USA can be seen in the V&A's collection. The work of many schools, styles and periods is represented. Many have been collected specifically with an eye to why they were made; the collection is therefore unusually rich in academic drawings, designs for illustration, and in particular preparatory drawings used in the production of paintings, sculpture, architecture and the applied arts.