The Archive of Art and Design (AAD) was established in 1978 to house the V&A's growing holdings of archival material. It collects, conserves and makes available for research the archives of individuals, associations and companies involved in any stage of the art and design process. These include collections that have been used or built up by artists and designers in the course of their work. Particular emphasis is placed on the records of British 20th- and 21st-century design.
The AAD's collecting area largely reflects that of the Museum's collections. Subjects include:
- Architecture and interior design
- Book illustration
- Ceramics and glass
- Contemporary art and design
- Exhibition design
- Fine arts
- Furniture design
- Graphic design
- Metalwork, silver and jewellery
- Stained glass design
- Textile design
The AAD holds over 350 separate archive groups. They vary in size from a few to several thousand items and contain many different types of material, such as designs, sketches, order books, accounts, correspondence, photographs and promotional material. In addition, some printed ephemera is collected as a record of contemporary developments in advertising, packaging and graphic design, and to complement the holdings of the Museum.
Opening arrangements 2021 – 23
There is currently no access to the V&A's study collections at Blythe House, including the Archive of Art and Design, while we relocate them to the new V&A East Storehouse in Stratford's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We are unable to consult material in the collections on behalf of enquirers, and our enquiry service is therefore very limited. Full access and enquiry services will resume in 2024.
Search the archive
Search the archive to discover the working papers of artists, designers and companies in the applied arts and design.
Our Research guides list the archives that we hold by subject, and are a useful place to start your research. Use them to find out more about what we hold relating to subjects such as fashion, textiles, silver, and interior design.
Visit the Tales from the Archives blog to discover interesting facts about the history of the V&A and hidden stories from our various archives. We will also keep you informed about our current and future projects, offer sneak previews of our new acquisitions as well as insights into what it's like to run a busy archive service.