Rooms 81 & 82, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries

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The V&A Paintings collection includes British and European oil and watercolour paintings as well as over 2,000 miniatures, for which the Museum holds the national collection. Highlights include the Raphael Cartoons and major works by J. M. W. Turner and John Constable.

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The Paintings collection was an original part of the Museum of Ornamental Art, later re-named the Victoria and Albert Museum, which opened at South Kensington in June 1857. In that year John Sheepshanks offered the Museum his collection of around 500 modern British oil paintings, watercolours and drawings to found a 'National Gallery of British Art'. He preferred the 'open and airy situation' of South Kensington to the polluted atmosphere of central London, and believed in the importance of making art accessible to the public. The first of his galleries opened in 1857 and is the earliest surviving part of the V&A.

Collection Highlights

Sour orange, watercolour, by Vincenzo Leonardi, about 1640, Rome, Italy
portrait miniature
Young Man among Roses, portrait miniature, by Nicholas Hilliard, about 1587, England
oil painting
Disappointed Love, oil painting, by Francis Danby, 1821, England
oil painting
Lion: A Newfoundland Dog, oil painting, by Edwin Henry Landseer, 1824, Britain
oil painting
Full-Scale Study for The Hay Wain, oil painting, by John Constable, about 1821, Britain
cartoon for a tapestry
Raphael Cartoon, Raphael Cartoon, The Miraculous Draught of Fishes (Luke 5: 1-11), cartoon for a tapestry, by Raphael, about 1515 – 16, Italy