With contributions from all sections of the Department, we intended to highlight current projects and research carried out by the Conservation Department at the V&A, including work on exhibitions and displays currently on show at the Museum and touring throughout the world.

The Conservation Department is responsible for the preservation, conservation, investigation and display of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collections, ensuring that they are safeguarded for present and future generations. Combining expert knowledge of science, the history of materials and techniques and practical proficiency, underpinned by scientific analysis, staff carry out research, assessments and practical conservation treatment on objects.

In addition, Conservation staff interpret the processes of deterioration, and evaluate provenance, authenticity and the restoration history of V&A objects. The Department consists of ten studios and four Conservation Sections (Paper, Book and Paintings Conservation; Sculpture, Metalwork Ceramics and Glass Conservation; Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Conservation, and Conservation Science). It covers all collections held by the V&A, including the Theatre and Performance collection, the Archive of Art & Design, the National Art Library and the Museum of Childhood.

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Guest Post: ‘Castaway!’ – David washed ashore in the antipodes

David’s eye. NAS Drawing Department cast.

Lorraine Kypiotis is a lecturer in Art History and Theory at National Art School in Sydney To view the remnants of the facial features of Michelangelo’s David at the National Art School in Sydney is somewhat like considering the curious pieces of flotsam and jetsam washed ashore after a tropical storm. They are, in so many […]

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Time capsules, finding the unexpected in buildings and objects – Part 3

Package of Hudson's extract of soap found inside one of the monumental casts in gallery 46 A. Image, J. Puisto © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The secrets in the Cast Courts One of the joys of working in the Cast Courts at the V&A, is the opportunity to examine the casts up-close. Surprisingly many of them conceal peculiar items which have been hidden inside them for a very long time. The items we find consist of, fragments of cleaning materials, […]

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Guest Post: Part 2 – David’s journey from Florence to V&A

Plaster cast of Michelangelo's David (Mus. No. REPRO. 161-1857) at the V&A. Image, Giuseppe Rizzo.

Giuseppe Rizzo is an art historian with a specialism on the life and works of Clemente Papi. Giuseppe works at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Although there are many copies of Michelangelo’s David in museums around the world, the full-size-replica exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum should be considered as ‘unique’. The cast was […]

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Guest Post: Part 1 – Clemente Papi: From plaster maker to Royal Bronze Founder

The Chapel, Petits St. Augustins, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris (Photo: @ EDBA n. 40445).

Giuseppe Rizzo is an art historian with a specialism on the life and works of Clemente Papi. Giuseppe works at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The history of the first copies of Michelangelo’s David are linked to the cast maker Clemente Papi (1803-1875), who, over the course of his career, made three life-size reproductions of […]

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Conservation of a Romanesque Lintel Cast

Repro.1902-17 in a former installation at the V&A, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

During my last year of the MSc in objects conservation at University College London, I am fortunate to have been granted a placement in the sculpture conservation studio at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) to fulfil the practical portion of my training. Last September, I became involved in the conservation of the V&A plaster […]

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Should a preconceived format dictate an outcome? I have always been a strong advocate of retaining albums in their original format and strongly oppose pulling them (the act of breaking down a bound format to its constituent parts of covers and sections) – after all I don’t want to put myself out of a job […]

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Guard Books – It`s The People That Matter.

A Museum without Staff and Visitors is simply a large building with (mostly) nice objects, with no-one looking after them, or studiously appraising them. It might be a little like this… you would expect, even very early in the morning, somebody, anybody, to be walking the pavements, travelling in very expensive motor vehicles, as seen here in […]

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Guest Post: The Cast of David’s Nose – A Mould Maker’s Impression

David Nose Plaster Cast by FeliceCalchi - plaster casts & sculptures, Rome over an old Cast Catalogue by Domenico Brucciani, London. Image, Andrea Felice 2017.

Andrea Felice, is a third generation Italian mould maker at FeliceCalchi – plaster casts & sculptures in Rome The cast of David’s Nose has, over the centuries, been one of the most used casts in the teaching of academic drawing and in art classes. Along with the other anatomical details of the head, eyes and […]

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Guest Post: Echoes of Michelangelo – Personal Observations on Drawing David’s Nose

The first attempt slightly further along. Image, Kurt van der Basch.

Kurt van der Basch is a freelance storyboard artist. His film credits include Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Cloud Atlas, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I was experiencing a Michelangelo mini-obsession when Victoria & Albert museum conservator Johanna Puisto e-mailed me about her blog project on the cast of David’s nose asking if I’d like […]

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Follow your nose – Brucciani’s plaster casts of the face of Michelangelo’s David as object lessons for art education

Brucciani 1906 Catalogue Detail

Dr. Rebecca Wade is an Assistant Curator of Sculpture at Leeds Museums and Galleries/Henry Moore Institute The plaster reproductions of the fragmented features of Michelangelo’s David may appear strange to our eyes, but as highly portable reproductions of perhaps the most recognised sculpture of the Italian renaissance they occupy an important place in the history […]

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