Neoclassicism

Throughout the museum

Plan a visit

Neoclassicism was a design style that emerged in Britain and France in the 1750s. It drew inspiration from the 'classical' art and culture of Ancient Greece and Rome – in particular, the archaeological discoveries at Herculaneum and Pompeii in Italy. It's popularity quickly spread as young European aristocrats returned home from the Grand Tour – a traditional and educational rite of passage – to their home countries with newly rediscovered Greco-Roman ideals.

Collection Highlights

Photo of Perfume burner, designed by James 'Athenian' Stuart, about 1760, England. Museum no. M.46:1, 2-1948. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Perfume burner, designed by James 'Athenian' Stuart, about 1760, England. Museum no. M.46:1, 2-1948. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Adelphi ceiling, designed by Robert Adam, about 1771, London. Museum no. W.43:1 to 5-1936. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Adelphi ceiling, designed by Robert Adam, about 1771, London. Museum no. W.43:1 to 5-1936. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Relief and tablet, Thomas Banks RA, 1777 – 78, Britain. Museum no. A.15&A-1984. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Relief and tablet, Thomas Banks RA, 1777 – 78, Britain. Museum no. A.15&A-1984. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Copy of the Portland Vase, Josiah Wedgwood's factory, about 1790, Staffordshire. Museum no. 854-1882. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Copy of the Portland Vase, Josiah Wedgwood's factory, about 1790, Staffordshire. Museum no. 854-1882. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Armchair, Robert Adam, 1764 – 65, London. Museum no. W.1-1937. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Armchair, Robert Adam, 1764 – 65, London. Museum no. W.1-1937. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hot water jug, unknown maker, 1785 – 90, Sheffield. Museum no. M.207-1920. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hot water jug, unknown maker, 1785 – 90, Sheffield. Museum no. M.207-1920. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Vase and cover, Derby Porcelain factory, about 1783 – 84, Derby. Museum no. C.263-1935. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Vase and cover, Derby Porcelain factory, about 1783 – 84, Derby. Museum no. C.263-1935. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Teapot, Andrew Fogelberg, 1778 – 79, London. Museum no. M.13-1963. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Teapot, Andrew Fogelberg, 1778 – 79, London. Museum no. M.13-1963. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Design for a monument, James 'Athenian' Stuart, 18th century, England. Museum no. 8408:9. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Design for a monument, James 'Athenian' Stuart, 18th century, England. Museum no. 8408:9. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Cup and cover, Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, about 1785, Staffordshire. Museum no. 815:1, 2-1891. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Cup and cover, Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, about 1785, Staffordshire. Museum no. 815:1, 2-1891. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Door handle, designed by Sir William Chambers, 1776 – 80, London. Museum no. 4013-1855. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Door handle, designed by Sir William Chambers, 1776 – 80, London. Museum no. 4013-1855. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Table, Sir William Chambers, 1769, London. Museum no. W.38:1 to 3-1977. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Table, Sir William Chambers, 1769, London. Museum no. W.38:1 to 3-1977. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Design for a drawing room, James Wyatt, about 1770 – 75, England. Museum no. 7231:35. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Design for a drawing room, James Wyatt, about 1770 – 75, England. Museum no. 7231:35. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Armchair, supplied by the firm of Sneddon and Shakleton, about 1790, Guernsey. Museum no. W.2-1968. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Armchair, supplied by the firm of Sneddon and Shakleton, about 1790, Guernsey. Museum no. W.2-1968. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Features

Background image: Adelphi ceiling, designed by Robert Adam, about 1771, London. Museum no. W.43:1 to 5-1936. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London