20 October 2018 – 22 April 2019
Sponsored by Playmobil

Admission free

This is the V&A Museum of Childhood’s first major exhibition to focus on fictional pirates and their influence in popular culture.

Developed in collaboration with children, the exhibition’s immersive and playful set design takes its young visitors into an imaginary swashbuckling world of adventure and exploration where they will travel from a moody coastal inn to a tropical treasure island in search of sparkling riches. At its heart a large-scale pirate ship inspires learning through active play.

Black Seas Barracuda playset, Lego, 1989 © The Lego Group, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Black Seas Barracuda playset, Lego, 1989 © The Lego Group, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

On display key loans and objects from the V&A’s collections, including toys, games, books, illustrations and comics, spanning over 300 years, chart the reimagination of pirates in popular children’s culture from Victorian Britain to the present day.  Real pirate coins and treasures bring visitors into contact with a more authentic world, allowing them to see what influenced their favourite pirate characters.

Framed painting of Captain Pugwash, painted by John Ryan, 1950, oil on board (c) John Ryan Estate

Framed painting of Captain Pugwash, painted by John Ryan, 1950, oil on board (c) John Ryan Estate

Highlights include the first painting of Captain Pugwash, an original illustrated costume design for Captain Hook for the first production of Peter Pan in 1904, Lego’s iconic Black Seas Barracuda ship and real eighteenth century Spanish doubloons.

Illustration of Captain Hook for the first ever theatrical production of Peter Pan, 1904 (c) Desmond Banks

Comic book, Treasure Island, Marvel, 1976 © Marvel ComicsVictoria and Albert Museum, London

Comic book, Treasure Island, Marvel, 1976 © Marvel ComicsVictoria and Albert Museum, London

 

Read a blog post about The Tale of Barnacle Bill by Sophie Sage, Exhibitions Manager

Read a blog post by William Newton, Curator of the exhibition

Read a blog post about working with the Hackney Pirates by Kirsty Sullivan, Formal Learning Manager

Make your own pirate hat

Learn how to create your own pirate hat here.