* Ranked 6th nationally (2015) * Ranked 11th globally (2013)
DIRECTOR Tristram Hunt
PUBLIC TRANSIT ACCESS South Kensington
In 2000, an 11-metre high, blown glass chandelier by Dale Chihuly was installed as a focal point in the rotunda at the V&A's main entrance.
The VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM (often abbreviated as the V&A), London, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert .
The V&A is located in the Brompton district of the Royal Borough of
Kensington and Chelsea , in an area that has become known as
Albertopolis " because of its association with Prince Albert, the
Albert Memorial and the major cultural institutions with which he was
associated. These include the Natural History Museum , the Science
Museum and the
Royal Albert Hall
The V&A covers 12.5 acres (5.1 ha) and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe , North America , Asia and North Africa . The holdings of ceramics , glass, textiles, costumes , silver, ironwork , jewellery, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, prints and printmaking , drawings and photographs are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world.
The museum owns the world's largest collection of post-classical
sculpture, with the holdings of
Since 2001, the museum has embarked on a major £150m renovation programme, which has seen a major overhaul of the departments, including the introduction of newer galleries, gardens, shops and visitor facilities.
New 17th- and 18th-century European galleries were opened on 9 December 2015. These restored the original Aston Webb interiors and host the European collections 1600–1815.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Foundation * 1.2 1900–1950 * 1.3 Since 1950
* 2 Partnerships
* 3 Architecture of the museum
* 3.1 Victorian period * 3.2 Edwardian period * 3.3 Post-war period * 3.4 Recent years * 3.5 Garden
* 4 Collections
* 4.1 Architecture
* 4.2 Asia
* 4.3 Books * 4.4 British galleries * 4.5 Cast courts * 4.6 Ceramics and glass * 4.7 Contemporary * 4.8 Prints and drawings * 4.9 Fashion * 4.10 Furniture * 4.11 Jewellery * 4.12 Metalwork * 4.13 Musical instruments * 4.14 Paintings (and miniatures) * 4.15 Photography * 4.16 Sculpture * 4.17 Textiles * 4.18 Theatre and performance
* 5 Departments
* 5.1 Education
The V initially it was known as the MUSEUM OF MANUFACTURES, first
opening in May 1852 at
The official opening by Queen Victoria was on 22 June 1857. In the
following year, late night openings were introduced, made possible by
the use of gas lighting. This was to enable in the words of Cole "to
ascertain practically what hours are most convenient to the working
classes" —this was linked to the use of the collections of both
applied art and science as educational resources to help boost
productive industry. In these early years the practical use of the
collection was very much emphasised as opposed to that of "High Art"
National Gallery and scholarship at the
The laying of the foundation stone of the
Aston Webb building (to the
left of the main entrance) on 17 May 1899 was the last official
public appearance by Queen Victoria. It was during this ceremony that
the change of name from the South Kensington Museum to the VICTORIA
AND ALBERT MUSEUM was made public. Queen Victoria's address during the
ceremony, as recorded in the
The exhibition which the museum organised to celebrate the centennial
of the 1899 renaming, "A Grand Design", first toured in North America
from 1997 (
Baltimore Museum of Art ,
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The opening ceremony for the Aston Webb building by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra took place on 26 June 1909. In 1914 the construction commenced of the Science Museum , signalling the final split of the science and art collections.
In 1939 on the outbreak of World War II, most of the collection was
sent to a quarry in
Before the return of the collections after the war, the Britain Can Make It exhibition was held between September and November 1946, attracting nearly a million and a half visitors. This was organised by the Council of Industrial Design established by the British government in 1944 "to promote by all practicable means the improvement of design in the products of British industry". The success of this exhibition led to the planning of the Festival of Britain (1951). By 1948 most of the collections had been returned to the museum.
In July 1973, as part of its outreach programme to young people, the V&A became the first museum in Britain to present a rock concert. The V&A presented a combined concert/lecture by British progressive folk-rock band Gryphon , who explored the lineage of mediaeval music and instrumentation and related how those contributed to contemporary music 500 years later. This innovative approach to bringing young people to museums was a hallmark of the directorship of Roy Strong and was subsequently emulated by some other British museums.
In the 1980s, Sir Roy Strong renamed the museum as "The Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of Art and Design". Strong's successor Elizabeth Esteve-Coll oversaw a turbulent period for the institution in which the museum's curatorial departments were re-structured, leading to public criticism from some staff. Esteve-Coll's attempts to make the V it should take about ten years to complete the work. A new entrance, courtyard and gallery designed by Amanda Levete 's AL A was scheduled for opening in 2017.
The museum also runs the Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green and used to run the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden and Apsley House . The Theatre Museum is now closed and the V"> V&A Dundee under construction in April 2017.
The V&A has no museums or galleries of its own outside London.
Instead it works with a small number of partner organisations in
The V&A is in discussion with the University of Dundee , University of Abertay , Dundee City Council and the Scottish Government with a view to opening a new £43 million gallery in Dundee that would use the V&A brand although it would be funded through and operated independently. As of 2015, with costs estimated at £76 million, it is the most expensive gallery project ever undertaken in Scotland. The V&A DUNDEE will be on the city's waterfront and is intended to focus on fashion, architecture, product design, graphic arts and photography. It is planned that it could open within five years. Dundee City Council is expected to pay a major part of the running costs. The V&A is not contributing financially, but will be providing expertise, loans and exhibitions.
Plans for a new gallery in
The V"> The Ceramic Staircase, designed by Frank Moody
The Victorian parts of the building have a complex history, with
piecemeal additions by different architects. Founded in May 1852, it
was not until 1857 that the museum moved to the present site. This
An ambitious scheme of decoration was developed for these new areas:
a series of mosaic figures depicting famous European artists of the
The interiors of the three refreshment rooms were assigned to
different designers. The Green Dining Room (1866–68) was the work of
Philip Webb and
William Morris , and displays
The lower part of the walls are panelled in wood with a band of
paintings depicting fruit and the occasional figure, with moulded
plaster foliage on the main part of the wall and a plaster frieze
around the decorated ceiling and stained-glass windows by Edward
Burne-Jones . The Centre Refreshment Room (1865–77) was designed in
With the death of Captain Francis Fowke of the Royal Engineers, the next architect to work at the museum was Colonel (later Major General) Henry Young Darracott Scott , also of the Royal Engineers. He designed to the north west of the garden the five-storey School for Naval Architects (also known as the science schools), now the Henry Cole Wing, in 1867–72. Scott's assistant J. W. Wild designed the impressive staircase that rises the full height of the building. Made from Cadeby stone, the steps are 7 feet (2.1 m) in length, while the balustrades and columns are Portland stone. It is now used to jointly house the prints and architectural drawings of the V"> Details of the main entrance
Continuing the style of the earlier buildings, various designers were responsible for the decoration. The terracotta embellishments were again the work of Godfrey Sykes, although sgraffito was used to decorate the east side of the building designed by F. W. Moody. A final embellishment was the wrought iron gates made as late as 1885 designed by Starkie Gardner. These lead to a passage through the building. Scott also designed the two Cast Courts (1870–73) to the southeast of the garden (the site of the "Brompton Boilers"); these vast spaces have ceilings 70 feet (21 m) in height to accommodate the plaster casts of parts of famous buildings, including Trajan\'s Column (in two separate pieces). The final part of the museum designed by Scott was the Art Library and what is now the sculpture gallery on the south side of the garden, built in 1877–83. The exterior mosaic panels in the parapet were designed by Reuben Townroe, who also designed the plaster work in the library. Sir John Taylor designed the book shelves and cases. This was the first part of the museum to have electric lighting. This completed the northern half of the site, creating a quadrangle with the garden at its centre, but left the museum without a proper façade. In 1890 the government launched a competition to design new buildings for the museum, with architect Alfred Waterhouse as one of the judges; this would give the museum a new imposing front entrance.
The main façade, built from red brick and
Prince Albert appears within the main arch above the twin entrances, and Queen Victoria above the frame around the arches and entrance, sculpted by Alfred Drury . These façades surround four levels of galleries. Other areas designed by Webb include the Entrance Hall and Rotunda, the East and West Halls, the areas occupied by the shop and Asian Galleries, and the Costume Gallery. The interior makes much use of marble in the entrance hall and flanking staircases, although the galleries as originally designed were white with restrained classical detail and mouldings, very much in contrast to the elaborate decoration of the Victorian galleries, although much of this decoration was removed in the early 20th century.
North side of Garden, by Captain Francis Fowke, Royal Engineers 1864–69 *
Western Cast Court, by Henry Young Darracott Scott 1870–73 *
The Art Library, by Scott and other designers 1877–83 *
Main Entrance, by Aston Webb 1899–1909
Bomb damage on the exhibition road facade
The Museum survived the Second World War with only minor bomb damage. The worst loss was the Victorian stained glass on the Ceramics Staircase, which was blown in when bombs fell nearby; pockmarks still visible on the façade of the museum were caused by fragments from the bombs.
In the immediate post-war years there was little money available for
other than essential repairs. The 1950s and early 1960s saw little in
the way of building work; the first major work was the creation of new
storage space for books in the Art Library in 1966 and 1967. This
involved flooring over Aston Webb's main hall to form the book stacks,
with a new medieval gallery on the ground floor (now the shop, opened
in 2006). Then the lower ground-floor galleries in the south-west part
of the museum were redesigned, opening in 1978 to form the new
galleries covering Continental art 1600–1800 (late Renaissance,
A few galleries were redesigned in the 1990s including the Indian,
Japanese, Chinese, iron work, the main glass galleries, and the main
silverware gallery, which was further enhanced in 2002 when some of
the Victorian decoration was recreated. This included two of the ten
columns having their ceramic decoration replaced and the elaborate
painted designs restored on the ceiling. As part of the 2006
renovation the mosaic floors in the sculpture gallery were
restored—most of the Victorian floors were covered in linoleum after
the Second World War. After the success of the British Galleries,
opened in 2001, it was decided to embark on a major redesign of all
the galleries in the museum; this is known as "FuturePlan", and was
created in consultation with the exhibition designers and
masterplanners Metaphor . The plan is expected to take about ten years
and was started in 2002. To date several galleries have been
redesigned, notably, in 2002: the main Silver Gallery, Contemporary;
in 2003: Photography, the main entrance, The Painting Galleries; in
2004: the tunnel to the subway leading to South Kensington tube
station , new signage throughout the museum, architecture, V in 2005:
portrait miniatures, prints and drawings, displays in Room 117, the
garden, sacred silver and stained glass; in 2006: Central Hall Shop,
Islamic Middle East, the new café, and sculpture galleries. Several
designers and architects have been involved in this work. Eva
Jiřičná designed the enhancements to the main entrance and rotunda,
the new shop, the tunnel and the sculpture galleries. Gareth Hoskins
was responsible for contemporary and architecture, Softroom, Islamic
Middle East and the Members' Room, McInnes Usher McKnight Architects
(MUMA) were responsible for the new Cafe and designed the new Medieval
In September 2004, the museum's board of trustees voted to abandon a
proposed extension, designed by
In 2011 the V"> The John Madejski Garden, opened in 2005
The central garden was redesigned by Kim Wilkie and opened as the John Madejski Garden on 5 July 2005. The design is a subtle blend of the traditional and modern: the layout is formal; there is an elliptical water feature lined in stone with steps around the edge which may be drained to use the area for receptions, gatherings or exhibition purposes. This is in front of the bronze doors leading to the refreshment rooms. A central path flanked by lawns leads to the sculpture gallery. The north, east and west sides have herbaceous borders along the museum walls with paths in front which continues along the south façade. In the two corners by the north façade there is planted an American Sweetgum tree. The southern, eastern and western edges of the lawns have glass planters which contain orange and lemon trees in summer, which are replaced by bay trees in winter.
At night both the planters and water feature may be illuminated, and the surrounding façades lit to reveal details normally in shadow. Especially noticeable are the mosaics in the loggia of the north façade. In summer a café is set up in the south west corner. The garden is also used for temporary exhibits of sculpture; for example, a sculpture by Jeff Koons was shown in 2006. It has also played host to the museum's annual contemporary design showcase, the V&A Village Fete , since 2005.
The Victoria 2) Furniture, Textiles and Fashion; 3) Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and, 4) Word "> The museum curators care for the objects in the collection and provide access to objects that are not currently on display to the public and scholars.
The collection departments are further divided into sixteen display areas, whose combined collection numbers over 6.5 million objects, not all items are displayed or stored at the V&A. There is a repository at Blythe House , West Kensington, as well as annexe institutions managed by the V&A, also the Museum lends exhibits to other institutions. The following lists each of the collections on display and the number of objects within the collection.
COLLECTION NUMBER OF ITEMS
Architecture (annex of the RIBA) 2,050,000
British Galleries (cross department display) ...
Childhood (annex of the V&A) 20,000
Contemporary (cross department function) ...
Fashion & Jewellery 28,000
Paintings & Drawings 202,500
Prints & Books 1,500,000
Theatre (includes V&A Theatre Collections Reading Room, an annexe of the former Theatre Museum ) 1,905,000
The museum has 145 galleries, but given the vast extent of the collections only a small percentage is ever on display. Many acquisitions have been made possible only with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund .
In 2004, the V&A alongside Royal Institute of British Architects opened the first permanent gallery in the UK covering the history of architecture with displays using models, photographs, elements from buildings and original drawings. With the opening of the new gallery, the RIBA Drawings and Archives Collection has been transferred to the museum, joining the already extensive collection held by the V"> Tilework Chimneypiece, Turkey, probably Istanbul, dated 1731
The V&As collection of Art from Asia numbers more than 160,000
objects, one of the largest in existence. It has one of the world's
most comprehensive and important collections of
The V"> Wine cup of Shah Jahan
The Museum's collections of South and South-East Asian art are the
most comprehensive and important in the West comprising nearly 60,000
objects, including about 10,000 textiles and 6000 paintings, the
range of the collection is immense. The
In 1879–80 the collections of the British East India Company's
India Museum were given to the V&A and the British Museum. Most of the
items were plundered during the
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The wine cup of Shah Jahan was an item that was plundered during the
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Far Eastern collections include more than 70,000 works of art
from the countries of East Asia: China, Japan and Korea. The T. T.
Tsui Gallery of
Bodhisattva Maitreya, Gandhara, Pakistan, Kusana Dynasty, 2nd-4th century AD *
Image depicting Rishabhanatha dated 9th century, India *
10th-century, Rock crystal ewer *
Goddess Ambika , Odisha, India, 12th Century *
Japanese Incense Burner, Signed 'Dai Nippon, Koko Sei', Patinated bronze inlaid with gilt bronze and other soft metal alloys c.1877 *
Betel container, 19th century, Filigree work in gold on a gold ground, outlined with bands of rubies and imitation emeralds, Mandalay, Burma
The museum houses the National Art Library, a public library containing over 750,000 books, photographs, drawings, paintings, and prints. It is one of the world's largest libraries dedicated to the study of fine and decorative arts. The library covers all areas and periods of the museum's collections with special collections covering illuminated manuscripts , rare books and artists' letters and archives.
The Library consists of three large public rooms, with around a hundred individual study desks. These are the West Room, Centre Room and Reading Room. The centre room contains 'special collection material'.
One of the great treasures in the library is the Codex Forster, some
Leonardo da Vinci
Writers whose papers are in the library are as diverse as Charles
Beatrix Potter . Illuminated manuscripts in the library
dating from the 12th to 16th centuries include: the Eadwine
The National Art Library (also called Word and Image Department) at the Victoria and Albert Museum collection catalogue used to be kept in different formats including printed exhibit catalogues, and card catalogues. A computer system called MODES cataloguing system was used from the 1980s to the 1990s, but those electronic files were not available to the library users. All of the archival material at the National Art Library is using Encoded Archival Description (EAD). The Victoria and Albert Museum has a computer system but most of the items in the collection, unless those were newly accessioned into the collection, probably do not show up in the computer system. There is a feature on the Victoria and Albert Museum web-site called "Search the Collections," but not everything is listed there.
The National Art Library also includes a collection of comics and comic art. Notable parts of the collection include the Krazy Kat Arkive, comprising 4,200 comics, and the Rakoff Collection, comprising 17,000 items collected by writer and editor Ian Rakoff.
The Victoria and Albert Museum's Word and Image Department was under the same pressure being felt in archives around the world, to digitise their collection. A large scale digitisation project began in 2007 in that department. That project was entitled the Factory Project to reference Andy Warhol and to create a factory to completely digitise the collection. The first step of the Factory Project was to take photographs using digital cameras. The Word and Image Department had a collection of old photos but they were in black and white and in variant conditions, so new photos were shot. Those new photographs will be accessible to researchers to the Victoria and Albert Museum web-site. 15,000 images were taken during the first year of the Factory Project, including drawings, watercolors, computer-generated art, photographs, posters, and woodcuts. The second step of the Factory Project is to catalogue everything. The third step of the Factory Project is to audit the collection. All of those items which were photographed and catalogued, must be audited to make sure everything listed as being in the collection was physically found during the creation of the Factory Project. The fourth goal of the Factory Project is conservation, which means performing some basic preventable procedures to those items in the department. There is a "Search the Collections" feature on the Victoria and Albert web-site. The main impetus behind the large-scale digitisation project called the Factory Project was to list more items in the collections in those computer databases.
BLW Manuscript Book of Hours, about 1480-90 *
These fifteen galleries—which opened in November 2001—contain around 4,000 items. The displays in these galleries are based around three major themes: "Style", "Who Led Taste" and "What Was New". The period covered is 1500 to 1900, with the galleries divided into three major subdivisions:
* Tudor and Stuart Britain, 1500–1714, covering the Renaissance,
Elizabethan , Jacobean , Restoration and
Not only the work of British artists and craftspeople is on display,
but also work produced by European artists that was purchased or
commissioned by British patrons, as well as imports from Asia,
including porcelain, cloth and wallpaper. Designers and artists whose
work is on display in the galleries include
Gian Lorenzo Bernini ,
Grinling Gibbons ,
Daniel Marot ,
Louis Laguerre ,
Antonio Verrio ,
James Thornhill , William Kent, Robert Adam, Josiah Wedgwood,
Matthew Boulton, Canova,
Thomas Chippendale , Pugin, William Morris.
Patrons who have influenced taste are also represented by works of art
from their collections, these include:
The galleries showcase a number of complete and partial reconstructions of period rooms, from demolished buildings, including:
* The parlour from 2 Henrietta Street, London, dated 1727–28,
Some of the more notable works displayed in the galleries include:
* Pietro Torrigiani's coloured terracotta bust of Henry VII , dated 1509–11 * Henry VIII\'s writing desk , dated 1525, made from walnut and oak, lined with leather and painted and gilded with the king's coat of arms * A spinet dated 1570–1580, made for Elizabeth I * The Great Bed of Ware , dated 1590–1600, a large, elaborately carved four-poster bed with marquetry headboard * Gianlorenzo Bernini 's bust of Thomas Baker , from the 1630s * 17th-century tapestries from the Sheldon and Mortlake workshops * The wood relief of The Stoning of St Stephen, dated c1670, by Grinling Gibbons * The Macclesfield Wine Set, dated 1719–1720, made by Anthony Nelme, the only complete set known to survive. * The life-size sculpture of George Frederick Handel , dated 1738, by Louis-François Roubiliac * Furniture by Thomas Chippendale and Robert Adam * The sculpture of Bashaw , dated 1831–34, by Matthew Cotes Wyatt * Aesthetic and Arts and carpets and interior textiles by William Morris.
The galleries also link design to wider trends in British culture.
For instance, design in the
Henry VIII's writing box *
Howard Grace Cup *
Great Bed of Ware , one of the largest beds of the world *
Norfolk House Music Room *
Wedgwood Portland Vase
Main article: Cast Courts (Victoria and Albert Museum)
One of the most dramatic parts of the museum is the Cast Courts in
the sculpture wing, comprising two large, skylighted rooms two storeys
high housing hundreds of plaster casts of sculptures, friezes and
tombs. One of these is dominated by a full-scale replica of Trajan\'s
Column , cut in half to fit under the ceiling. The other includes
reproductions of various works of
The two courts are divided by corridors on both storeys, and the partitions that used to line the upper corridor (the Gilbert Bayes sculpture gallery) were removed in 2004 to allow the courts to be viewed from above.
Room 46a; Cast Court —Plaster Cast of the 'Pórtico da Gloria' in
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
Cast Court —Plaster copy of Trajan\'s Column *
CERAMICS AND GLASS
Part of the reserve collection of European ceramics, on display on the top floor.
This is the largest and most comprehensive ceramics and glass collection in the world, with over 80,000 objects from around the world. Every populated continent is represented. Apart from the many pieces in the Primary Galleries on the ground floor, much of the top floor is devoted to galleries of ceramics of all periods covered, which include display cases with a representative selection, but also massed "visible storage" displays of the reserve collection.
Well represented in the collection is
Many famous potters, such as Josiah Wedgwood,
William De Morgan and
The glass collection covers 4000 years of glass making, and has over
6000 items from Africa, Britain, Europe, America and Asia. The
earliest glassware on display comes from
The main gallery was redesigned in 1994, the glass balustrade on the staircase and mezzanine are the work of Danny Lane , the gallery covering contemporary glass opened in 2004 and the sacred silver and stained-glass gallery in 2005. In this latter gallery stained glass is displayed alongside silverware starting in the 12th century and continuing to the present. Some of the most outstanding stained glass, dated 1243–48 comes from the Sainte-Chapelle , is displayed along with other examples in the new Medieval ">
Porcelain figure of a goat, by J. J. Kaendler , Meissen , c. 1732 *
Jardinière (plant pot),
The Luck of Edenhall , glass beaker, Syria, 13th century *
These galleries are dedicated to temporary exhibits showcasing both trends from recent decades and the latest in design and fashion.
PRINTS AND DRAWINGS
Prints and drawings from the over 750,000 items in the collection can
be seen on request at the print room , the "Prints and Drawings study
Room"; booking an appointment is necessary. The collection of
drawings includes over 10,000 British and 2,000 old master works,
including works by: Dürer ,
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
The print collection has more than 500,000 items, covering: posters,
greetings cards, book plates, as well as a comprehensive collection of
old master prints from the
The costume collection is the most comprehensive in Britain,
containing over 14,000 outfits plus accessories, mainly dating from
1600 to the present.
Costume sketches, design notebooks, and other
works on paper are typically held by the Word and Image department.
Because everyday clothing from previous eras has not generally
survived, the collection is dominated by fashionable clothes made for
special occasions. One of the first significant gifts of costume came
in 1913 when the V&A received the
Talbot Hughes collection containing
1,442 costumes and items as a gift from
Some of the oldest items in the collection are medieval vestments ,
Opus Anglicanum . One of the most important items in the
collection is the wedding suit of
James II of England
In 1971, Cecil Beaton curated an exhibition of 1,200 20th-century high-fashion garments and accessories, including gowns worn by leading socialites such as Patricia Lopez-Willshaw, Gloria Guinness and Lee Radziwill , and actresses such as Audrey Hepburn and Ruth Ford . After the exhibition, Beaton donated most of the exhibits to the Museum in the names of their former owners.
In 1999, V&A began a series of live catwalk events at the museum
titled Fashion in Motion featuring items from historically significant
fashion collections. The first show featured
Alexander McQueen in June
1999. Since then, the museum has hosted recreations of various
designer shows every year including
In 2002, the Museum acquired the Costiff collection of 178 Vivienne
Westwood costumes. Other famous designers with work in the collection
Coco Chanel ,
Hubert de Givenchy ,
Christian Dior , Cristóbal
Balenciaga , Yves Saint Laurent ,
Guy Laroche ,
Irene Galitzine , Mila
Valentino Garavani ,
Norman Norell ,
Norman Hartnell , Zandra
Hardy Amies ,
Mary Quant ,
Christian Lacroix ,
Jean Muir and
1770s sack-back gown *
c.1870 wedding dress *
1912 Lucile evening dress *
1954 Dior evening gown called 'Zemire'
In November 2012, the Museum opened its first gallery to be
exclusively dedicated to furniture. Prior to this date furniture had
been exhibited as part of a greater period context, rather than in
isolation to showcase its design and construction merits. Among the
designers showcased in the new gallery are Ron Arad , John Henry
Belter , Joe Colombo ,
Eileen Gray ,
Verner Panton , Thonet , and
Frank Lloyd Wright
The furniture collection, while covering Europe and America from the
The Furniture and Woodwork collection also includes complete rooms, musical instruments, and clocks. Among the rooms owned by the Museum are the Boudoir of Madame de Sévilly (Paris, 1781–82) by Claude Nicolas Ledoux , with painted panelling by Jean Simeon Rousseau de la Rottière ; and Frank Lloyd Wright's Kaufmann Office, designed and constructed between 1934 and 1937 for the owner of a Pittsburgh department store.
The collection includes pieces by William Kent, Henry Flitcroft , Matthias Lock , James Stuart , William Chambers , John Gillow, James Wyatt, Thomas Hopper , Charles Heathcote Tatham , Pugin, William Burges , Charles Voysey , Charles Robert Ashbee , Baillie Scott , Edwin Lutyens, Edward Maufe , Wells Coates and Robin Day . The museum also hosts the national collection of wallpaper, which is looked after by the Prints, Drawings and Paintings department.
The Soulages collection of Italian and French
There are a set of beautiful inlaid doors, dated 1580 from Antwerp
City Hall , attributed to
Hans Vredeman de Vries . One of the finest
pieces of continental furniture in the collection is the Rococo
Augustus Rex Bureau Cabinet dated c1750 from Germany, with especially
fine marquetry and ormolu mounts. One of the grandest pieces of
19th-century furniture is the highly elaborate French Cabinet dated
1861–1867 made by M. Fourdinois, made from ebony inlaid with box,
lime, holly, pear, walnut and mahogany woods as well as marble with
gilded carvings. Furniture designed by
Ernest Gimson , Edward William
Godwin , Charles Voysey,
One of the oldest clocks in the collection is an astronomical clock of 1588 by Francis Nowe. One of the largest is James Markwick the younger's longcase clock of 1725, nearly 3 metres in height and japanned . Other clock makers with work in the collection include: Thomas Tompion , Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy , John Ellicott ">
Baumhauer, Joseph —Commode, with panels of Japanese lacquer ">
The Evelyn Cabinet —Inlaid with panels of Florentine pietre dure; Italy, 1644–46 *
Cabinet on stand, German, c. 1580
The jewellery collection, containing over 6000 items is one of the
finest and most comprehensive collections of jewellery in the world
and includes works dating from
Spanish gold and emerald pendant
This collection of more than 45,000 items covers decorative ironwork , both wrought and cast , bronze, silverware, arms and armour, pewter, brassware and enamels (including many examples Limoges enamel ). The main iron work gallery was redesigned in 1995.
There are over 10,000 objects made from silver or gold in the
collection, the display (about 15% of the collection) is divided into
secular and sacred covering both Christian (
Tabernacle, Cologne, Germany, c. 1180
Musical instruments are classified as furniture by the museum, although Asian instruments are held by their relevant departments.
Among the more important instruments owned by the museum are a violin
The Musical Instruments gallery closed 25 February 2010, a decision
which was highly controversial. An online petition of over 5,100
names on the Parliamentary website led to Chris Smith asking
Parliament about the future of the collection. The answer, from Bryan
Davies was that the museum intended to preserve and care for the
collection and keep it available to the public, with items being
redistributed to the British Galleries, the Medieval & Renaissance
Galleries, and the planned new galleries for Furniture and Europe
1600–1800, and that the
A natural horn *
A serpent (a sort of bass cornett )
PAINTINGS (AND MINIATURES)
The collection includes about 1130 British and 650 European oil
paintings , 6800 British watercolours , pastels and 2000 miniatures ,
for which the museum holds the national collection. Also on loan to
the museum, from Her Majesty the Queen
19th-century British artists are well represented.
In 1857 John Sheepshanks donated 233 paintings, mainly by
contemporary British artists, and a similar number of drawings to the
museum with the intention of forming a 'A
National Gallery of British
Art', a role since taken on by
Tate Britain ; artists represented are
Richard Ellison's collection of 100 British watercolours was given by his widow in 1860 and 1873 'to promote the foundation of the National Collection of Water Colour Paintings'. Over 500 British and European oil paintings, watercolours and miniatures and 3000 drawings and prints were bequeathed in 1868-9 by the clergymen Chauncey Hare Townshend and Alexander Dyce.
Several French paintings entered the collection as part of the 260
paintings and miniatures (not all the works were French, for example
Another major Victorian benefactor was Constantine Alexander Ionides
, who left 82 oil paintings to the museum in 1901, including works by
The Salting Bequest of 1909 included, among other works, watercolours
by J. M. W. Turner. Other watercolourists include: William Gilpin ,
Thomas Rowlandson, William Blake,
John Sell Cotman
Miniaturists represented in the collection include
Jean Bourdichon ,
Hans Holbein the Younger
The collection contains more than 500,000 images dating from the advent of photography, the oldest image dating from 1839. The gallery displays a series of changing exhibits and closes between exhibitions to allow full re-display to take place. Already in 1858, when the museum was called the South Kensington Museum, it had the world's first international photographic exhibition.
The collection includes the work of many photographers from Fox
Julia Margaret Cameron
One of the more unusual collections is that of
In 2003 and 2007 Penelope Smail and Kathleen Moffat generously donated Curtis Moffat 's extensive archive to the museum. He created dynamic abstract photographs, innovative colour still-lives and glamorous society portraits during the 1920s and 1930s. He was also a pivotal figure in Modernist interior design. In Paris during the 1920s, Moffat collaborated with Man Ray, producing portraits and abstract photograms or "rayographs".
The sculpture collection at the V"> Giambologna—Samson Slaying a Philistine , c. 1562
Rodin is represented by more than 20 works in the museum collection,
making it one of the largest collections of the sculptor's work
outside France; these were given to the museum by the sculptor in
1914, as acknowledgement of Britain's support of France in World War I
, although the statue of
St John the Baptist
There are also several
Sculptors both British and Europeans who were based in Britain and
whose work is in the collection include
With the opening of the Dorothy and
Michael Hintze sculpture
galleries in 2006 it was decided to extend the chronology of the works
on display up to 1950; this has involved loans by other museums,
Smaller-scale works are displayed in the Gilbert Bayes gallery, covering medieval especially English alabaster sculpture, bronzes, wooden sculptures and has demonstrations of various techniques such as bronze casting using lost-wax casting .
One of the largest objects in the collection is the \'s-Hertogenbosch rood loft , from the Netherlands, dated 1610–13 this is as much a work of architecture as sculpture, 10.4 metres wide, 7.8 metres high, the architectural framework is of various coloured marbles including columns, arches and balustrade, against which are statues and bas-reliefs and other carvings in alabaster, the work of sculptor Conrad van Norenberch.
Andrea della Robbia
The collection of textiles consists of more than 53,000 examples, mainly western European though all populated continents are represented, dating from the 1st century AD to the present, this is the largest such collection in the world. Techniques represented include weaving, printing, quilting embroidery, lace , tapestry and carpets. These are classified by technique, countries of origin and date of production. The collections are well represented in these areas: early silks from the Near East, lace, European tapestries and English medieval church embroidery.
The tapestry collection includes a fragment of the Cloth of St Gereon , the oldest known surviving European tapestry. A highlight of the collection is the four Devonshire Hunting Tapestries , very rare 15th-century tapestries, woven in the Netherlands, depicting the hunting of various animals; not just their age but their size make these unique. Both of the major English centres of tapestry weaving of the 16th and 17th centuries respectively, Sheldon ">
Mille Fleur Tapestry, Flemish, 16th Century Flemish *
Devonshire Hunting Tapestries , Detail of the Boar and Bear Hunt, Netherlands, mid-15th century
THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE
The V&A Theatre & Performance galleries, formerly the Theatre Museum , opened in March 2009. The collections are stored by the V it provides research facilities for students at degree level and beyond, with information and access to the collections. It also oversees the content of the museum's web site in addition to publishing books and papers on the collections, research and other aspects of the museum.
Several areas of the collection have dedicated study rooms, these allow access to items in the collection that are not currently on display, but in some cases require an appointment to be made.
The new Sackler education suite, occupying the two lower floors of the Henry Cole Wing opened in September 2008. This includes lecture rooms and areas for use by schools, which will be available during school holidays for use by families, and will enable direct handling of items from the collection.
V other studies contribute to systematic research, this develops the public understanding of the art and artefacts of many of the great cultures of the world; visitor research and evaluation to discover the needs of visitors and their experiences of the museum. Since 1990 the museum has published research reports these focus on all areas of the collections.
Conservation is responsible for the long-term preservation of the collections, and covers all the collections held by the V&A and the V&A Museum of Childhood. The conservators specialise in particular areas of conservation. Areas covered by conservator's work include "preventive" conservation this includes: performing surveys, assessments and providing advice on the handling of items, correct packaging, mounting and handling procedures during movement and display to reduce risk of damaging objects. Activities include controlling the museum environment (for example, temperature and light) and preventing pests (primarily insects) from damaging artefacts. The other major category is "interventive" conservation, this includes: cleaning and reintegration to strengthen fragile objects, reveal original surface decoration, and restore shape. Interventive treatment makes an object more stable, but also more attractive and comprehensible to the viewer. It is usually undertaken on items that are to go on public display.
Room 81—The Ionides Bequest—82 paintings donated *
Museum galleries Asia
Porcelain Vase, Ming Dynasty c.1550 *
Chinese lacquerware table, 1425–1436
Pietro Torrigiani's bust of Henry VII *
Jacket and portrait of Margaret Laton, about 1610, no. T.228-1994 *
Honoré Pelle's bust of Charles II *
James II's wedding suit *
Grinling Gibbon's Stoning of St Stephen *
Stoke Edith hanging *
Dressing equipage *
Luis-Francois Roubiliac's George Frideric Handel *
Robert Adam ceiling from the Adelphi *
Panels from the Glass Drawing Room Northumberland House *
Pugin armoire *
Minton fountain *
Sideboard , 1867–1870, Edward William Godwin (1833–80) V">
Metalwork gallery, 1st floor *
Constable —View of
Turner —Venice from the Giudecca , 1840
Jean François de Troy
Carlevarijs — Two Studies of Men, c. 1700–10 *
Perugino — The Nativity ; the Virgin, St Joseph and the Shepherds adoring the Infant Christ *
Tiepolo — St Leo in Glory
Rodin —Age of Bronze, 1877 *
Room 22—Sculpture 1600–1870,
Sculpture Gallery *
Room 24—Sculpture 1600–1870 *
Bust of Oliver Cromwell
* Architecture portal
* ^ A B "Visits made in 2015 to visitor attractions in membership
with ALVA". ALVA. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
* ^ Top 100 Art Museum Attendance,
The Art Newspaper , 2014.
Retrieved on 15 July 2014.
* ^ Stewart, Heather (13 January 2017). "
Tristram Hunt to quit as
MP to become V&A director". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077 . Retrieved
13 January 2017.
* ^ Hogg, Gill; Liao, Min-Hsiu; O'Gorman, Kevin. "Reading between
the lines: Multidimensional translation in tourism consumption".
Tourism Management. 42: 157–164. doi :10.1016/j.tourman.2013.10.005
* ^ "FuturePlan – Victoria and Albert Museum". vam.ac.uk. 6 May
2011. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
* ^ "ARTS V&A to have £150m facelift".
* Banham, Mary; Hillier, Bevis, eds. (1976). A Tonic to the Nation:
Festival of Britain 1951.
* Physick, John (1982). The Victoria and Albert Museum: The History
of Its Building. ISBN 978-0-7148-8001-3 .
* V&A websites:
* Official website * A list of past exhibitions held at the V&A
* Historical images of V&A
* Construction of V&A Museum * The V&A Museum prior to opening
* Victoria and Albert Museum at the