Effects of Wet Cleaning Beetle Elytra Embellished Textiles

Dress skirt panel, 4411(IS), before treatment

by Lauren Osmond MA Conservation student, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario   In the mid-nineteenth century, in India, the outer wing casings (elytra) of iridescent Jewel beetles were used to adorn metal embroidered textiles produced specifically for British export. The Victoria and Albert Museum owns many of these luxurious objects and continues to acquire them for […]

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Publishing Frida Kahlo

Publishing Frida Kahlo The anticipation around the arrival of the first copies of Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up was such that there was a small crowd gathering in the office as soon as the advance copies came in. Her work and life captivate people, and have been explored at great length in any number […]

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Royal Photographic Society Collection: Julia Margaret Cameron

Among the treasures included in the recent transfer of the Royal Photographic Society Collection (RPS) to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) from the National Science and Media Museum (NSMM), is a large collection of works by Julia Margaret Cameron, one of the most important and innovative photographers of the 19th century. As Research Assistant to curator […]

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Whales, Ambergris and the Perfume Industry: A Brief History

Written by Lydia Caston, Volunteer  Large-scale whaling began around 1880. This coincided with the expansion of the fashion industry, the rise of the department store and greater disposable income for many families. Whalebone, the colloquial name for baleen, acts as a strainer for filter feeder whales that eat small plankton and krill.  As baleen plates […]

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New open call: VARI offsite international residency with Create

Exterior of Old Manor Park Library. Photo: Emil Charlaff The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) and Create are seeking nominations and applications for a three-month international residency based at Create’s Rabbits Road Institute in East London.   Rabbits Road Institute is currently home to Rabbits Road Press, a community Risograph print studio and publishing press run […]

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UNFORTUNATE INHERITANCES: On Getting Started, by VARI Artist-in-Residence Victoria Adukwei Bulley

This spring, Opening the Cabinet of Curiosities (OCC) VARI Artist-in-Residence Victoria Adukwei Bulley has been looking into histories of absentee slave-ownership contained within the V&A’s collection. Supported by the research of Dr Hannah Young, Victoria has been responding cumulatively through a blend of poetry, portraiture and film, in a series titled Unfortunate Inheritances. This blog offers an […]

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Illustration Awards and Fashion Perspectives

V&A Publishing been working on revamping (and expanding) a series of books that weaves together a number of strands of the Museum’s work. Although we have published the autobiographies of some of the most famous designers working in fashion for a long time – including Christian Dior, Barbara Hulanicki, Paul Poiret, Mary Quant and Elsa Schiaparelli […]

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John Vernon Lord named winner of the Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year at the V&A Illustration Awards 2018

  The winners of the V&A Illustration Awards 2018 were announced at an awards ceremony hosted by the Museum on the evening of Tuesday 15 May. Each winner received £3,000, a trophy and certificate. Acclaimed illustrator, scholar and author, John Vernon Lord has been awarded the Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year award worth an […]

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My Life in Levi’s

Written by Alice Labourg, Volunteer                           I love the cut, shape, feel, colour and specific details of this particular pair of Levi’s. This is one of the last pairs of Levi’s 501 of that kind that I have. I bought them around 2005-06. […]

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The psychedelic Leman silk

Figure 2 - the Leman textile and the corresponding design next to one another

  Serendipity is a wonderful concept: it applies very clearly to the Leman Album, which has been discussed before in many other blog entries. We had already started our multidisciplinary investigation of the Album, when a length of brocaded silk, clearly made from one of the Leman designs we own, was offered for sale to […]

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