The Ceramic Staircase, V&A

The Ceramic Staircase, V&A

Ceramic Staircase

Levels 1 and 3, Stair I
Built 1865-71

This highly decorated staircase was intended to be an example of the good design and manufacture that the Museum wished to promote.

It is covered with mosaic, painting and moulded ceramics. Classical in style, this decoration includes ancient Roman gods, masks and symbolic figures such as Art and Science. These were considered appropriate for an institution dedicated to education.

Critics claimed that the moulded figures were badly modelled and the masks were lopsided. However, the fame of the staircase spread and other museums wanted to copy the style.