Victoria and Albert Museum
Overview
The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A), set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is a central London borough of Royal borough status. After the City of Westminster, it is the wealthiest borough in England....

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

, it was founded in 1852, and has since grown to cover 12.5 acres (50,585.8 m²) and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, in virtually every medium, from the cultures of Europe
History of Europe
History of Europe describes the history of humans inhabiting the European continent since it was first populated in prehistoric times to present, with the first human settlement between 45,000 and 25,000 BC.-Overview:...

, North America
Classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas
Classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas is based upon cultural regions, geography, and linguistics. Anthropologists have named various cultural regions, with fluid boundaries, that are generally agreed upon with some variation...

, Asia
Eastern world
__FORCETOC__The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures or social structures and philosophical systems of Eastern Asia or geographically the Eastern Culture...

 and North Africa
Culture of North Africa
The people of the Maghreb and the Sahara speak various dialects of Berber and Arabic, and almost exclusively follow Islam. The Arabic and Berber groups of languages are distantly related, both being members of the Afro-Asiatic family. The Sahara dialects are notably more conservative than those of...

.
Encyclopedia
The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A), set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is a central London borough of Royal borough status. After the City of Westminster, it is the wealthiest borough in England....

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

, it was founded in 1852, and has since grown to cover 12.5 acres (50,585.8 m²) and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, in virtually every medium, from the cultures of Europe
History of Europe
History of Europe describes the history of humans inhabiting the European continent since it was first populated in prehistoric times to present, with the first human settlement between 45,000 and 25,000 BC.-Overview:...

, North America
Classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas
Classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas is based upon cultural regions, geography, and linguistics. Anthropologists have named various cultural regions, with fluid boundaries, that are generally agreed upon with some variation...

, Asia
Eastern world
__FORCETOC__The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures or social structures and philosophical systems of Eastern Asia or geographically the Eastern Culture...

 and North Africa
Culture of North Africa
The people of the Maghreb and the Sahara speak various dialects of Berber and Arabic, and almost exclusively follow Islam. The Arabic and Berber groups of languages are distantly related, both being members of the Afro-Asiatic family. The Sahara dialects are notably more conservative than those of...

. The museum is a non-departmental public body
Non-departmental public body
In the United Kingdom, a non-departmental public body —often referred to as a quango—is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, Treasury, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to certain types of public bodies...

 sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is a department of the United Kingdom government, with responsibility for culture and sport in England, and some aspects of the media throughout the whole UK, such as broadcasting and internet....

.

The holdings of ceramics
Ceramics (art)
In art history, ceramics and ceramic art mean art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials by the process of pottery. Some ceramic products are regarded as fine art, while others are regarded as decorative, industrial or applied art objects, or as...

, glass
Glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

, textile
Textile
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

s, costume
Costume
The term costume can refer to wardrobe and dress in general, or to the distinctive style of dress of a particular people, class, or period. Costume may also refer to the artistic arrangement of accessories in a picture, statue, poem, or play, appropriate to the time, place, or other circumstances...

s, silver, ironwork
Ironwork
Ironwork is any weapon, artwork, utensil or architectural feature made of iron especially used for decoration. There are two main types of ironwork wrought iron and cast iron. While the use of iron dates as far back as 4000BC, it was the Hittites who first knew how to extract it and develop weapons...

, jewellery
Jewellery
Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to...

, furniture
Furniture
Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

, medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 objects, sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, prints
Old master print
An old master print is a work of art produced by a printing process within the Western tradition . A date of about 1830 is usually taken as marking the end of the period whose prints are covered by this term. The main techniques concerned are woodcut, engraving and etching, although there are...

 and printmaking
Printmaking
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

s and photograph
Photograph
A photograph is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic imager such as a CCD or a CMOS chip. Most photographs are created using a camera, which uses a lens to focus the scene's visible wavelengths of light into a reproduction of...

s are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world. The museum possesses the world's largest collection of post-classical
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 sculpture, the holdings of Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

 items are the largest outside Italy. The departments of Asia include art from South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 and the Islamic world. The East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

n collections are among the best in Europe, with particular strengths in ceramics and metalwork, while the Islamic collection, alongside the Musée du Louvre and Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

, New York, is amongst the largest in the world.

Alongside other neighbouring institutions, including the Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is one of three large museums on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, England . Its main frontage is on Cromwell Road...

 and Science Museum
Science Museum (London)
The Science Museum is one of the three major museums on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is part of the National Museum of Science and Industry. The museum is a major London tourist attraction....

, the V&A is located in what is termed London's "Albertopolis
Albertopolis
Albertopolis is the area centred on South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, London, England, between Cromwell Road and Kensington Gore, which contains a large number of educational and cultural sites, including:*Imperial College London...

", an area of immense cultural, scientific and educational importance. 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. Following in similar vein to other national UK museums, entrance to the museum has been free since 2001.

Foundation

The V&A has its origins in The Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations or The Great Exhibition, sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held, was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October...

 of 1851, with which Henry Cole
Henry Cole
Sir Henry Cole was an English civil servant and inventor who facilitated many innovations in commerce and education in 19th century Britain...

, the museum's first director, was involved in planning; initially it was known as The Museum of Manufactures, first opening in May 1852 at Marlborough House
Marlborough House
Marlborough House is a mansion in Westminster, London, in Pall Mall just east of St James's Palace. It was built for Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, the favourite and confidante of Queen Anne. The Duchess wanted her new house to be "strong, plain and convenient and good"...

, but by September had been transferred to Somerset House
Somerset House
Somerset House is a large building situated on the south side of the Strand in central London, England, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The central block of the Neoclassical building, the outstanding project of the architect Sir William Chambers, dates from 1776–96. It...

. At this stage the collections covered both applied art and science. Several of the exhibits from the Exhibition were purchased to form the nucleus of the collection. By February 1854 discussions were underway to transfer the museum to the current site and it was renamed as The South Kensington Museum. In 1855 the German architect Gottfried Semper
Gottfried Semper
Gottfried Semper was a German architect, art critic, and professor of architecture, who designed and built the Semper Opera House in Dresden between 1838 and 1841. In 1849 he took part in the May Uprising in Dresden and was put on the government's wanted list. Semper fled first to Zürich and later...

, at the request of Cole, produced a design for the museum, but it was rejected by the Board of Trade
Board of Trade
The Board of Trade is a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, originating as a committee of inquiry in the 17th century and evolving gradually into a government department with a diverse range of functions...

 as too expensive. The site was occupied by Brompton Park House; this was extended including the first refreshment rooms opened in 1857, the museum being the first in the world to provide such a facility. The official opening by Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 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" at the National Gallery and scholarship at the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

. George Wallis
George Wallis
George Wallis, FSA, , artist, museum curator and art educator, was the first Keeper of Fine Art Collection at South Kensington Museum .-Early years:...

(1811–1891), the first Keeper of Fine Art Collection, passionately promoted the idea of wide art education through the museum collections. This led to the transfer to the museum of The School of Design that had been founded in 1837 at Somerset House
Somerset House
Somerset House is a large building situated on the south side of the Strand in central London, England, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The central block of the Neoclassical building, the outstanding project of the architect Sir William Chambers, dates from 1776–96. It...

, after the transfer it was referred to as the Art School or Art Training School, later to become the Royal College of Art
Royal College of Art
The Royal College of Art is an art school located in London, United Kingdom. It is the world’s only wholly postgraduate university of art and design, offering the degrees of Master of Arts , Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy...

 which finally achieved full independence in 1949. From the 1860s to the 1880s the scientific collections had been moved from the main museum site to various improvised galleries to the west of Exhibition Road
Exhibition Road
Exhibition Road is a street in South Kensington, London, forming a semi-border between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster...

. In 1893 the "Science Museum" had effectively come into existence when a separate director was appointed.

The laying of the foundation stone to the left of the main entrance of the Aston Webb building, 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. London Gazette of the time ended "I trust that it will remain for ages a Monument of discerning Liberality and a Source of Refinement and Progress."

The exhibition which the Museum organised to celebrate the centennial of the 1899 renaming, "A Grand Design," first toured in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 from 1997 (Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, was founded in 1914. Built in the Roman Temple style, the Museum is home to an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Founded in 1914 with a single painting, the BMA today has 90,000 works...

, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the largest museums in the United States, attracting over one million visitors a year. It contains over 450,000 works of art, making it one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas...

, Royal Ontario Museum
Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is a museum of world culture and natural history in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. With its main entrance facing Bloor Street in Downtown Toronto, the museum is situated north of Queen's Park and east of Philosopher's Walk in the University of Toronto...

, Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, is the largest public arts institution in the city of San Francisco and one of the largest art museums in California.-External...

), returning to London in 1999. To accompany and support the exhibition, the Museum published a book, Grand Design, which it has made available for reading online on its website.

1900–1950

The opening ceremony for the Aston Webb building by King Edward VII
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

 and Queen Alexandra
Alexandra of Denmark
Alexandra of Denmark was the wife of Edward VII of the United Kingdom...

 took place on 26 June 1909. In 1914 the construction commenced of the Science Museum
Science Museum (London)
The Science Museum is one of the three major museums on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is part of the National Museum of Science and Industry. The museum is a major London tourist attraction....

 signalling the final split of the science and art collections. Since then the museum has maintained its role of one of the world's greatest decorative arts collections.

In 1939 on the outbreak of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, most of the collection was sent to a quarry in Wiltshire, to Montacute House
Montacute House
Montacute House is a late Elizabethan country house situated in the South Somerset village of Montacute. This house is a textbook example of English architecture during a period that was moving from the medieval Gothic to the Renaissance Classical; this has resulted in Montacute being regarded as...

 in Somerset, or to a tunnel near Aldwych tube station
Aldwych tube station
Aldwych is a closed London Underground station in the City of Westminster, originally opened as Strand in 1907. It was the terminus and only station on the short Piccadilly line branch from Holborn that was a relic of the merger of two railway schemes. The disused station building is close to the...

, with larger items remaining in situ, sand-bagged and bricked in. Between 1941 and 1944 some galleries were used as a school for children evacuated from Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

. The South Court became a canteen, first for the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 and later for Bomb Damage Repair Squads.

Before the return of the collections after the War, the Britain Can Make It
Britain Can Make It
Britain Can Make It was an exhibition of industrial and product design held in London in 1946. It was organized by the Council of Industrial Design, later to become the Design Council....

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
Festival of Britain
The Festival of Britain was a national exhibition in Britain in the summer of 1951. It was organised by the government to give Britons a feeling of recovery in the aftermath of war and to promote good quality design in the rebuilding of British towns and cities. The Festival's centrepiece was in...

 (1951). By 1948 most of the collections had been returned to the museum.

Since 1950

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
Gryphon (band)
Gryphon were a British progressive rock band of the 1970s, best known for their unusual Medieval sound and instrumentation.-Career:Multi-instrumentalist Richard Harvey and his fellow Royal College of Music graduate Brian Gulland, a woodwind player, began the group as an all-acoustic ensemble that...

, 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
Roy Strong
Sir Roy Colin Strong FRSL is an English art historian, museum curator, writer, broadcaster and landscape designer. He has been director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London...

 renamed the museum as 'The Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of Art and Design'. Strong's successor Elizabeth Esteve-Coll
Elizabeth Esteve-Coll
Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, DBE, FRSA is a British academic and former museum director.-Career:Born as , the daughter of a Darlington bank clerk, she was educated at Darlington High School, Trinity College, Dublin and Birkbeck, University of London.She was the first woman director of a national...

 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&A more accessible included a criticised marketing campaign emphasising the cafe over the collection.

In 2001, "Future Plan" was launched, which involves redesigning all the galleries and public facilities in the museum that have yet to be remodelled. This is to ensure that the exhibits are better displayed, more information is available and the Museum meets modern expectations for museum facilities; it should take about ten years to complete the work.

The museum also runs the Museum of Childhood
V&A Museum of Childhood
The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green in the East End of London is a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum , which is the United Kingdom's national museum of applied arts.-History:...

 at Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green is a district of the East End of London, England and part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, with the far northern parts falling within the London Borough of Hackney. Located northeast of Charing Cross, it was historically an agrarian hamlet in the ancient parish of Stepney,...

 and used to run the Theatre Museum
Theatre Museum
The Theatre Museum in the Covent Garden district of London, England, was the United Kingdom's national museum of the performing arts. It was a branch of the UK's national museum of applied arts, the Victoria and Albert Museum...

 in Covent Garden
Covent Garden
Covent Garden is a district in London on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martin's Lane and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit and vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as...

 and Apsley House
Apsley House
Apsley House, also known as Number One, London, is the former London residence of the Dukes of Wellington. It stands alone at Hyde Park Corner, on the south-east corner of Hyde Park, facing south towards the busy traffic interchange and Wellington Arch...

. The Theatre Museum is now closed and the V&A Theatre Collections are now displayed within the South Kensington building.

Regional partnerships

The V&A has no museums or galleries of its own outside of London. Instead it works with a small number of partner organisations in Sheffield
Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

, Dundee
Dundee
Dundee is the fourth-largest city in Scotland and the 39th most populous settlement in the United Kingdom. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea...

 and Blackpool
Blackpool
Blackpool is a borough, seaside town, and unitary authority area of Lancashire, in North West England. It is situated along England's west coast by the Irish Sea, between the Ribble and Wyre estuaries, northwest of Preston, north of Liverpool, and northwest of Manchester...

 to provide a regional presence.

The V&A is in discussion with the University of Dundee
University of Dundee
The University of Dundee is a university based in the city and Royal burgh of Dundee on eastern coast of the central Lowlands of Scotland and with a small number of institutions elsewhere....

, University of Abertay, Dundee City Council and the Scottish Government with a view to opening a new £43m gallery in Dundee which would use the V&A brand although it would be funded through and operated independently. 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 5 years.

Plans for a new gallery in Blackpool are also under consideration. This follows earlier plans to move the theatre collection to a new £60m museum in Blackpool, which failed due to lack of funding.

The V&A exhibits twice a year at the Millennium Galleries
Millennium Galleries
The Millennium Galleries is an art gallery in the City of Sheffield, England. Opened in April 2001 as part of Sheffield's Heart of the City project, it is located in the city centre close to the city library, Sheffield Hallam University, and the city's theatre district...

 in partnership with Museums Sheffield.

International partnerships

The V&A is one of 17 museums across Europe and the Mediterranean participating in a project called Discover Islamic Art. Developed by the Brussels-based consortium Museum With No Frontiers
Museum With No Frontiers
Museum With No Frontiers , an international non-profit organization founded in 1995 as a result of the Barcelona Declaration by Eva Schubert, with the goal of launching a formal partnership between the European Union and its Mediterranean neighbours, which recently resulted in the constitution of...

, this online 'virtual museum' brings together over 1200 works of Islamic art and architecture into a single database.

The Victorian period

The Victorian areas 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 area of London was known as Brompton but had been renamed South Kensington. The land was occupied by Brompton Park House, which was extended, most notably by the "Brompton Boilers", which were starkly utilitarian iron galleries with a temporary look; they were later dismantled and used to build the V&A Museum of Childhood
V&A Museum of Childhood
The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green in the East End of London is a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum , which is the United Kingdom's national museum of applied arts.-History:...

. The first building to be erected that still forms part of the museum was the Sheepshanks
John Sheepshanks
John Sheepshanks , British manufacturer and art collector, was born in Leeds, and became a partner in his father's business as a cloth manufacturer....

 Gallery in 1857 on the eastern side of the garden; its architect was civil engineer Captain Francis Fowke
Francis Fowke
Francis Fowke RE was a British engineer and architect, and a Captain in the Corps of Royal Engineers. Most of his architectural work was executed in the Renaissance style, although he made use of relatively new technologies to create iron framed buildings, with large open galleries and...

, Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

, who was appointed by Cole. The next major expansions were designed by the same architect, these were the Turner and Vernon galleries built 1858-9 (built to house the eponymous collections, which were later transferred to the Tate Gallery, now used as the picture galleries and tapestry gallery respectively), then the North and South Courts, both of which opened by June 1862. They now form the galleries for temporary exhibitions and are directly behind the Sheepshanks Gallery. On the very northern edge of the site is situated the Secretariat Wing, also built in 1862 this houses the offices and board room etc. and is not open to the public.
An ambitious scheme of decoration was developed for these new areas: a series of mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

 figures depicting famous European artists of the Medieval and Renaissance period were produced. These have now been removed to other areas of the museum. Also started were a series of frescoes
The Leighton Frescoes
The Leighton Frescoes were commissioned in 1868 as the central feature of the elaborate decorations of the Victoria and Albert Museum's South Court. The artist of the two enormous works which each measure 10.7 metres across, was Frederic Leighton , one of the most important figures in the late...

 by Lord Leighton: Industrial Arts as Applied to War 1878–1880 and Industrial Arts Applied to Peace, which was started but never finished. To the east of this were additional galleries, the decoration of which was the work of another designer Owen Jones
Owen Jones (architect)
Owen Jones was a London-born architect and designer of Welsh descent. He was a versatile architect and designer, and one of the most influential design theorists of the nineteenth century...

, these were the Oriental Courts (covering India, China and Japan) completed in 1863, none of this decoration survives, part of these galleries became the new galleries covering the 19th century, opened in December 2006. The last work by Fowke was the design for the range of buildings on the north and west sides of the garden, this includes the refreshment rooms, reinstated as the Museum Café in 2006, with the silver gallery above, (at the time the ceramics gallery), the top floor has a splendid lecture theatre although this is seldom open to the general public. The ceramic staircase in the northwest corner of this range of buildings was designed by F.W. Moody; all the architectural details are produced in moulded and coloured pottery. All the work on the north range was designed and built in 1864–1869. The style adopted for this part of the museum was Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

, much use was made of terracotta, brick
Brick
A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...

 and mosaic, this north façade was intended as the main entrance to the museum with its bronze doors designed by James Gamble & Reuben Townroe having six panels depicting: Humphry Davy
Humphry Davy
Sir Humphry Davy, 1st Baronet FRS MRIA was a British chemist and inventor. He is probably best remembered today for his discoveries of several alkali and alkaline earth metals, as well as contributions to the discoveries of the elemental nature of chlorine and iodine...

 (chemistry); Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

 (astronomy); James Watt
James Watt
James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

 (mechanics); Bramante (architecture); Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 (sculpture); Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

 (painting); thus representing the range of the museums collections, Godfrey Sykes
Godfrey Sykes
Godfrey Sykes was an English designer and painter.After an apprenticeship to the Sheffield engraver James Bell, he trained at the Sheffield School of Art from 1843 and taught there from 1857...

 also designed the terracotta embellishments and the mosaic in the Pediment
Pediment
A pediment is a classical architectural element consisting of the triangular section found above the horizontal structure , typically supported by columns. The gable end of the pediment is surrounded by the cornice moulding...

 of the North Façade commemorating the Great Exhibition the profits from which helped to fund the museum, this is flanked by terracotta statue groups by Percival Ball
Percival Ball
Percival Ball was an English sculptor active in Australia.Ball was born in Westminster, London, the son of Edward Henry Ball, carver, and his wife Louisa, née Percival. He later studied at the Royal Academy of Arts schools in England winning several gold medals and prizes. Between 1865 and 1882 he...

. This building replaced Brompton Park House, which could then be demolished to make way for the south range.

The interiors of the three refreshment rooms were assigned to different designers. The Green Dining Room 1866–68 was the work of Philip Webb
Philip Webb
Another Philip Webb — Philip Edward Webb was the architect son of leading architect Sir Aston Webb. Along with his brother, Maurice, he assisted his father towards the end of his career....

 and William Morris
William Morris
William Morris 24 March 18343 October 1896 was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement...

, displays Elizabethan influences, 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
Edward Burne-Jones
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company...

. The Centre Refreshment Room 1865–77 was designed in a Renaissance style by James Gamble, the walls and even the Ionic
Ionic order
The Ionic order forms one of the three orders or organizational systems of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian...

 columns are covered in decorative and moulded ceramic tile, the ceiling consists of elaborate designs on enamelled metal sheets and matching stained glass windows, the marble fireplace was designed and sculpted by Alfred Stevens
Alfred Stevens (sculptor)
Alfred Stevens , British sculptor, was born at Blandford Forum in Dorset.He was the son of a house painter and in the early part of his career he painted pictures in his spare time. In 1833, the rector of his parish enabled him to go to Italy, where he spent nine years studying at Naples, Pompeii,...

 and was removed from Dorchester House prior to that building's demolition in 1929. The Grill Room 1876–81 was designed by Sir Edward Poynter
Edward Poynter
Sir Edward John Poynter, 1st Baronet, PRA was an English painter, designer, and draughtsman who served as President of the Royal Academy.-Life:...

, the lower part of the walls consist of blue and white tiles with various figures and foliage enclosed by wood panelling, above there are large tiled scenes with figures depicting the four seasons and the twelve months these were painted by ladies from the Art School then based in the museum, the windows are also stained glass, there is an elaborate cast iron grill still in place.

With the death of Captain Francis Fowke
Francis Fowke
Francis Fowke RE was a British engineer and architect, and a Captain in the Corps of Royal Engineers. Most of his architectural work was executed in the Renaissance style, although he made use of relatively new technologies to create iron framed buildings, with large open galleries and...

, Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

 the next architect to work at the museum was Colonel (later Major General) Henry Young Darracott Scott
Henry Young Darracott Scott
Henry Young Darracott Scott RE was an English Major-General in the Corps of Royal Engineers, best known for the construction of London's Royal Albert Hall.-Life:...

, also of the Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

. 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.H. 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, the balustrades and columns are Portland stone. It is now used to jointly house the prints and architectural drawing
Architectural drawing
An architectural drawing or architect's drawing is a technical drawing of a building that falls within the definition of architecture...

s of the V&A (prints, drawings, paintings and photographs) and Royal Institute of British Architects
Royal Institute of British Architects
The Royal Institute of British Architects is a professional body for architects primarily in the United Kingdom, but also internationally.-History:...

 (RIBA Drawings and Archives Collections); and the Sackler Centre for arts education which openned in 2008. 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
Sgraffito
Sgraffito is a technique either of wall decor, produced by applying layers of plaster tinted in contrasting colors to a moistened surface, or in ceramics, by applying to an unfired ceramic body two successive layers of contrasting slip, and then in either case scratching so as to produce an...

 was used to decorate the east side of the building designed by F.W. Moody, a final embellishment were 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 (21.3 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 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
John Taylor (architect)
Sir John Taylor, KCB, FRIBA was a British architect...

 designed the book shelves and cases, also 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
Alfred Waterhouse
Alfred Waterhouse was a British architect, particularly associated with the Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. He is perhaps best known for his design for the Natural History Museum in London, and Manchester Town Hall, although he also built a wide variety of other buildings throughout the...

 as one of the judges; this would give the museum a new imposing front entrance.

The Edwardian period

The main façade, built from red brick and Portland stone
Portland stone
Portland stone is a limestone from the Tithonian stage of the Jurassic period quarried on the Isle of Portland, Dorset. The quarries consist of beds of white-grey limestone separated by chert beds. It has been used extensively as a building stone throughout the British Isles, notably in major...

, stretches 720 feet (219.5 m) along Cromwell Gardens and was designed by Aston Webb
Aston Webb
Sir Aston Webb, RA, FRIBA was an English architect, active in the late 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century...

 after winning a competition in 1891 to extend the museum. Construction took place between 1899 to 1909. Stylistically it is a strange hybrid, although much of the detail belongs to the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 there are medieval influences at work. The main entrance consisting of a series of shallow arches supported by slender columns and niches with twin doors separated by pier is Romanesque
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

 in form but Classical in detail. Likewise the tower above the main entrance has an open work crown surmounted by a statue of fame, a feature of late Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 and a feature common in Scotland, but the detail is Classical. The main windows to the galleries are also mullioned and transomed, again a Gothic feature, the top row of windows are interspersed with statues of many of the British artists whose work is displayed in the museum.

Prince Albert appears within the main arch above the twin entrances, Queen Victoria above the frame around the arches and entrance, sculpted by Alfred Drury
Alfred Drury
Alfred Briscoe Drury, was an English architectural sculptor and figure in the New Sculpture movement.Born in London, Drury studied under Edouard Lanteri and Jules Dalou, with whom he worked between 1881 and 1885, and then became assistant to Joseph Boehm.Drury is best represented at the Victoria...

. 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 as well as the Costume Gallery. The interior makes much use of marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 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.

The post-war period

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; pock marks still visible on the façade of the museum were caused by shrapnel 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, Baroque through Rococo and neo-Classical). In 1974 the museum had acquired what is now the Henry Cole wing from the Royal College of Science
Royal College of Science
The Royal College of Science was a higher education institution located in South Kensington; it was a constituent college of Imperial College London from 1907 until it was wholly absorbed by Imperial in 2002. Alumni include H. G. Wells and Brian May and are distinguishable by the letters ARCS ...

. In order to adapt the building as galleries, all the Victorian interiors except for the staircase were recast during the remodelling. To link this to the rest of the museum, a new entrance building was constructed on the site of the former boiler house, the intended site of the Spiral, between 1978 and 1982. This building is of concrete and very functional, the only embellishment being the iron gates by Christopher Hay and Douglas Coyne of the Royal College of Art
Royal College of Art
The Royal College of Art is an art school located in London, United Kingdom. It is the world’s only wholly postgraduate university of art and design, offering the degrees of Master of Arts , Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy...

. These are set in the columned screen wall designed by Aston Webb that forms the façade.

Recent years

A few galleries were redesigned in the 1990s including: Indian, Japanese, Chinese, iron work, the main glass and the main silverware gallery, although this gallery 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
Linoleum
Linoleum is a floor covering made from renewable materials such as solidified linseed oil , pine rosin, ground cork dust, wood flour, and mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate, most commonly on a burlap or canvas backing; pigments are often added to the materials.The finest linoleum floors,...

 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 'Future Plan'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
South Kensington tube station
South Kensington is a London Underground station in Kensington, west London. It is served by the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines. On the District and Circle lines, the station is between Gloucester Road and Sloane Square, and on the Piccadilly Line, it is between Gloucester Road and...

, New signage throughout the museum, architecture, V&A and RIBA reading rooms and stores, metalware, Members' Room, contemporary glass, the Gilbert Bayes
Gilbert Bayes
Gilbert William Bayes RA was a British sculptor and medalist.-Career:Born in London into a family of artists, Bayes' lengthy and illustrious career began as a student under Sir George Frampton and Harry Bates, and so became associated with the British New Sculpture movement and its focus on...

 sculpture gallery; 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, sculpture galleries. Several designers and architects have been involved in this work. Eva Jiricna
Eva Jiricná
Eva Jiřičná CBE is a renowned Czech architect, and designer, active in London and Prague. She is known for her attention to detail and work of a distinctly modern style...

 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 and Renaissance galleries which opened in 2009.

Recently, controversy surrounded the museum's proposed building of an £80 million extension called The Spiral, designed by Daniel Libeskind
Daniel Libeskind
Daniel Libeskind, is an American architect, artist, and set designer of Polish-Jewish descent. Libeskind founded Studio Daniel Libeskind in 1989 with his wife, Nina, and is its principal design architect...

, which was criticised as out of keeping with the architecture of the original buildings. The Spiral's design was described by some as looking like jumbled cardboard boxes. In September 2004, the museum's board of trustees voted to abandon the design after failing to receive funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund
Heritage Lottery Fund
The Heritage Lottery Fund is a fund established in the United Kingdom under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993. The Fund opened for applications in 1994. It uses money raised through the National Lottery to transform and sustain the UK’s heritage...

.

The garden

The central garden was redesigned by Kim Wilkie and opened as the John Madejski
John Madejski
Sir John Robert Madejski OBE DL is an English businessman, with commercial interests, spanning property, broadcast media, hotels, restaurants, publishing and football...

 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
American Sweetgum
Liquidambar styraciflua, commonly called the American sweetgum, sweet-gum, alligator-wood, American-storax, bilsted, red-gum, satin-walnut, or star-leaved gum, is a deciduous tree in the genus Liquidambar native to warm temperate areas of eastern North America and tropical montane regions of Mexico...

 tree; the southern, eastern and western edges of the lawns have glass planters which contain orange and lemon trees in summer, these are replaced by bay trees
Bay Laurel
The bay laurel , also known as sweet bay, bay tree, true laurel, Grecian laurel, laurel tree, or simply laurel, is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glossy leaves, native to the Mediterranean region. It is the source of the bay leaf used in cooking...

 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
Loggia
Loggia is the name given to an architectural feature, originally of Minoan design. They are often a gallery or corridor at ground level, sometimes higher, on the facade of a building and open to the air on one side, where it is supported by columns or pierced openings in the wall...

 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
Jeff Koons
Jeffrey "Jeff" Koons is an American artist known for his reproductions of banal objects—such as balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror finish surfaces....

 was shown in 2006. It has also played host to the museum's annual contemporary design showcase, the V&A Village Fete
V&A Village Fete
The V&A Village Fete is an annual event held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.-Aims:The fete aims to put an alternative spin on the traditional English village fete and features stalls from established names and newcomers in the UK's creative industries, in particular from the fields of...

 since 2005.

Education

The education department has wide-ranging responsibilities. It provides information for the casual visitor as well as for school groups, including integrating learning in the museum with the National Curriculum; 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
Raymond Sackler
Dr Raymond R. Sackler is an American physician, entrepreneur and philanthropist. With his brothers Arthur M. Sackler and Mortimer Sackler he founded the pharmaceutical company LTR Pharmaceutical which later took control of Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin.He received his bachelor of science...

 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.

Activities for children

Activity backpacks are available for children. These are free to borrow and include hands on activities such as puzzles, construction games and stories related to themes of the museum.

Research and conservation

Research is a very important area of the Museum's work, and includes: identification and interpretation of individual objects; 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
V&A Museum of Childhood
The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green in the East End of London is a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum , which is the United Kingdom's national museum of applied arts.-History:...

. 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.

Collections

The Victoria & Albert Museum is split into four Collections departments, Asia; Furniture, Textiles and Fashion; Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass and Word & Image. 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
Blythe House
Blythe House is a listed building located at 23 Blythe Road, West Kensington, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, UK. Originally built as the headquarters of the Post Office Savings Bank, it is now used as a store and archive by the Victoria and Albert, Science and British Museums.-Post...

, West Kensington, as well as annex 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.
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
National Art Collections Fund
The Art Fund is an independent membership-based British charity, which raises funds to aid the acquisition of artworks for the nation. It gives grants and acts as a channel for many gifts and bequests, as well as lobbying on behalf of museums and galleries and their users...

.

Architecture

In 2004, the V&A alongside Royal Institute of British Architects
Royal Institute of British Architects
The Royal Institute of British Architects is a professional body for architects primarily in the United Kingdom, but also internationally.-History:...

 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&A. With over 600,000 drawings, over 750,000 papers and paraphernalia, and over 700,000 photographs from around the world, together they form the world's most comprehensive architectural resource.

Not only are all the major British architects of the last four hundred years represented, but many European (especially Italian) and American architects' drawings are held in the collection. The RIBA's holdings of over 330 drawings by Andrea Palladio
Andrea Palladio
Andrea Palladio was an architect active in the Republic of Venice. Palladio, influenced by Roman and Greek architecture, primarily by Vitruvius, is widely considered the most influential individual in the history of Western architecture...

 are the largest in the world, other Europeans well represented are Jacques Gentilhatre and Antonio Visentini
Antonio Visentini
thumb|220px|View of Piazza San Marco in Venice, by Antonio Visentini .Antonio Visentini was an Italian architectural designer, painter and engraver, known for his architectural fantasies and capricci, the author of treatises on perspective and professor at the Venetian Academy...

. British architects whose drawings, and in some cases models of their buildings, in the collection, include: Inigo Jones
Inigo Jones
Inigo Jones is the first significant British architect of the modern period, and the first to bring Italianate Renaissance architecture to England...

, Sir Christopher Wren, Sir John Vanbrugh, Nicholas Hawksmoor
Nicholas Hawksmoor
Nicholas Hawksmoor was a British architect born in Nottinghamshire, probably in East Drayton.-Life:Hawksmoor was born in Nottinghamshire in 1661, into a yeoman farming family, almost certainly in East Drayton, Nottinghamshire. On his death he was to leave property at nearby Ragnall, Dunham and a...

, William Kent
William Kent
William Kent , born in Bridlington, Yorkshire, was an eminent English architect, landscape architect and furniture designer of the early 18th century.He was baptised as William Cant.-Education:...

, James Gibbs
James Gibbs
James Gibbs was one of Britain's most influential architects. Born in Scotland, he trained as an architect in Rome, and practised mainly in England...

, Robert Adam
Robert Adam
Robert Adam was a Scottish neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer. He was the son of William Adam , Scotland's foremost architect of the time, and trained under him...

, Sir William Chambers, James Wyatt
James Wyatt
James Wyatt RA , was an English architect, a rival of Robert Adam in the neoclassical style, who far outdid Adam in his work in the neo-Gothic style.-Early classical career:...

, Henry Holland
Henry Holland (architect)
Henry Holland was an architect to the English nobility. Born in Fulham, London, his father also Henry ran a building firm and he built several of Capability Brown's buildings, although Henry would have learnt a lot from his father about the practicalities of construction it was under Brown that he...

, John Nash
John Nash (architect)
John Nash was a British architect responsible for much of the layout of Regency London.-Biography:Born in Lambeth, London, the son of a Welsh millwright, Nash trained with the architect Sir Robert Taylor. He established his own practice in 1777, but his career was initially unsuccessful and...

, Sir John Soane, Sir Charles Barry, Charles Robert Cockerell
Charles Robert Cockerell
Charles Robert Cockerell was an English architect, archaeologist, and writer.-Life:Charles Robert Cockerell was educated at Westminster School from 1802. From the age of sixteen, he trained in the architectural practice of his father, Samuel Pepys Cockerell...

, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, Sir George Gilbert Scott, John Loughborough Pearson
John Loughborough Pearson
John Loughborough Pearson was a Gothic Revival architect renowned for his work on churches and cathedrals. Pearson revived and practised largely the art of vaulting, and acquired in it a proficiency unrivalled in his generation.-Early life and education:Pearson was born in Brussels, Belgium on 5...

, George Edmund Street
George Edmund Street
George Edmund Street was an English architect, born at Woodford in Essex.- Life :Street was the third son of Thomas Street, solicitor, by his second wife, Mary Anne Millington. George went to school at Mitcham in about 1830, and later to the Camberwell collegiate school, which he left in 1839...

, Richard Norman Shaw
Richard Norman Shaw
Richard Norman Shaw RA , was an influential Scottish architect from the 1870s to the 1900s, known for his country houses and for commercial buildings.-Life:...

, Alfred Waterhouse
Alfred Waterhouse
Alfred Waterhouse was a British architect, particularly associated with the Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. He is perhaps best known for his design for the Natural History Museum in London, and Manchester Town Hall, although he also built a wide variety of other buildings throughout the...

, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Charles Rennie MacKintosh
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Scottish architect, designer, watercolourist and artist. He was a designer in the Arts and Crafts movement and also the main representative of Art Nouveau in the United Kingdom. He had a considerable influence on European design...

, Charles Holden
Charles Holden
Charles Henry Holden, Litt. D., FRIBA, MRTPI, RDI was a Bolton-born English architect best known for designing many London Underground stations during the 1920s and 1930s, for Bristol Central Library, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London's headquarters at 55 Broadway and for the...

, Frank Hoar
Frank Hoar
Harold Frank Hoar, FRIBA , was a British architect, artist, academic and architectural historian. Hoar first came to public prominence when, at the age of 25, he won a competition to design the first terminal building at London's Gatwick Airport in the 1930s...

, Lord Richard Rogers
Richard Rogers
Richard George Rogers, Baron Rogers of Riverside CH Kt FRIBA FCSD is a British architect noted for his modernist and functionalist designs....

, Lord Norman Foster
Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank
Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, OM is a British architect whose company maintains an international design practice, Foster + Partners....

, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw
Nicholas Grimshaw
Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, CBE is a prominent English architect, particularly noted for several modernist buildings, including London's Waterloo International railway station and the Eden Project in Cornwall...

, Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid, CBE is an Iraqi-British architect.-Life and career:Hadid was born in 1950 in Baghdad, Iraq. She received a degree in mathematics from the American University of Beirut before moving to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.After graduating she worked...

 and Alick Horsnell
Alick Horsnell
Alick Horsnell was an architect, draughtsmen and artist working in London during the early years of the 20th Century.-Life:Alick Horsnell trained as an architect in the office of Frederick Chancellor FRIBA in Chelmsford. In 1899 he designed a house for Charles Baskett, then assistant master at...

.

As well as period rooms, the collection includes parts of buildings, for example the two top stories of the facade of Sir Paul Pindar
Paul Pindar
Sir Paul Pindar was a merchant and, from 1611 to 1620, was Ambassador of King James I of England to the Ottoman Empire.Born in Wellingborough and educated at Wellingborough School Pindar entered trade as the apprentice to an Italian merchant in London...

's house dated c1600 from Bishopsgate
Bishopsgate
Bishopsgate is a road and ward in the northeast part of the City of London, extending north from Gracechurch Street to Norton Folgate. It is named after one of the original seven gates in London Wall...

 with elaborately carved wood work and leaded windows, a rare survivor of the Great Fire of London
Great Fire of London
The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall...

, there is a brick portal from a London house of the English Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

 period and a fireplace from the gallery of Northumberland house. European examples include a dormer window dated 1523–35 from the chateau of Montal. There are several examples from Italian Renaissance buildings including, portals, fireplaces, balconies and a stone buffet that used to have a built in fountain. The main architecture gallery has a series of pillars from various buildings and different periods, for example a column from the Alhambra
Alhambra
The Alhambra , the complete form of which was Calat Alhambra , is a palace and fortress complex located in the Granada, Andalusia, Spain...

. Examples covering Asia are in those galleries concerned with those countries, as well as models and photographs in the main architecture gallery.

Asia

The V&As collection of Art from Asia numbers more than 160,000 objects, one of the greatest in existence. It has one of the world's most comprehensive and important collections of Chinese art whilst the collection of South Asian Art is the most important in the West. The museums coverage includes items from South and South East Asia, Himalayan Kingdoms, China, the Far East and the Islamic world.
The V&A holds over 19,000 items from the Islamic World, ranging from the early Islamic period (the 7th century) to the early 20th century. The Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, opened in 2006, houses a representative display of 400 objects with the highlight being the Ardabil Carpet
Ardabil Carpet
The Ardabil Carpet is either of a pair of two famous Persian carpets in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art....

, the centrepiece of the gallery. The displays in this gallery cover objects from Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Afghanistan. A masterpiece of Islamic art
Islamic art
Islamic art encompasses the visual arts produced from the 7th century onwards by people who lived within the territory that was inhabited by or ruled by culturally Islamic populations...

 is a 10th-century Rock crystal ewer
Rock crystal ewer
Rock crystal ewers are pitchers carved from a single block of rock crystal. The ewers were made by Islamic Fatimid artisans and are considered the rarest objects in Islamic art. There are a few that survived and are now in collections across Europe. They are often in cathedral treasuries, where...

. Many examples of Qur'ān
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

s with exquisite calligraphy
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

 dating from various periods are on display. A 15th-century Minbar
Minbar
A minbar is a pulpit in the mosque where the imam stands to deliver sermons or in the Hussainia where the speaker sits and lectures the congregation...

 from a Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 with ivory forming complex geometrical patterns inlaid in wood is one of the larger objects on display. Extensive examples of ceramics especially Iznik
Iznik
İznik is a city in Turkey which is primarily known as the site of the First and Second Councils of Nicaea, the first and seventh Ecumenical councils in the early history of the Church, the Nicene Creed, and as the capital city of the Empire of Nicaea...

 pottery, glasswork including 14th century lamps from mosques and metalwork are on display. The collection of Middle Eastern and Persian rug
Persian rug
The Persian carpet is an essential part of Persian art and culture. Carpet-weaving is undoubtedly one of the most distinguished manifestations of Persian culture and art, and dates back to ancient Persia. In 2008, Iran’s exports of hand-woven carpets was $420 million or 30% of the world's market...

s and carpets is amongst the finest in the world, many were part of the Salting Bequest of 1909. Examples of tile work from various buildings including a fireplace dated 1731 from Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 made of intricately decorated blue and white tiles and turquoise tiles from the exterior of buildings from Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

 are also displayed.

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 Nehru gallery of Indian art
Indian art
Indian Art is the visual art produced on the Indian subcontinent from about the 3rd millennium BC to modern times. To viewers schooled in the Western tradition, Indian art may seem overly ornate and sensuous; appreciation of its refinement comes only gradually, as a rule. Voluptuous feeling is...

, opened in 1991, contains art from about 500 BC to the 19th century. There is an extensive collection of sculpture, mainly of a religious nature, Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

, Buddhist and Jain. The gallery is richly endowed with art of the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

, including fine portraits of the emperors and other paintings and drawings, jade wine cups and gold spoons inset with emeralds, diamonds and rubies, also from this period are parts of buildings such as a jaali
Jali
A jali is the term for a perforated stone or latticed screen, usually with an ornamental pattern constructed through the use of calligraphy and geometry. Early work was performed by carving into stone, while the later more elegant used by the Mughals employed the technique of inlay, using marble...

 and pillars. India was a large producer of textiles, from dyed cotton chintz
Chintz
Chintz is glazed calico cloth printed with flowers and other patterns in different colours. Unglazed calico is called "cretonne". The word Calico is derived from the name of the Indian city Calicut to which it had a manufacturing association.-History:Chintz was originally a woodblock printed,...

, muslin
Muslin
Muslin |sewing patterns]], such as for clothing, curtains, or upholstery. Because air moves easily through muslin, muslin clothing is suitable for hot, dry climates.- Etymology and history :...

 to rich embroidery
Embroidery
Embroidery is the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins....

 work using gold and silver thread, coloured sequins and beads is displayed, as are carpets from Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

 and Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

. Examples of clothing are also displayed. One of the more unusual items on display in the Indian Gallery is 'Tipu's Tiger
Tipu's Tiger
Tipu's Tiger or Tippoo's Tiger is an 18th century automaton or mechanical toy created for Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in India. The carved and painted wood casing represents a tiger savaging a near life-size European man. Mechanisms inside the tiger and man's bodies make one...

', an automaton
Automaton
An automaton is a self-operating machine. The word is sometimes used to describe a robot, more specifically an autonomous robot. An alternative spelling, now obsolete, is automation.-Etymology:...

 and mechanical organ made in Mysore around 1795. It represents a tiger
Tiger
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to and weighing up to . Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts...

 mauling a soldier or officer of the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

. It is named after the ruler of Mysore who commissioned it, Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

. In 1879–80 the collections of the British East India Company's India Museum were given to the V&A and the British Museum.
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 Chinese art
Chinese art
Chinese art is visual art that, whether ancient or modern, originated in or is practiced in China or by Chinese artists or performers. Early so-called "stone age art" dates back to 10,000 BC, mostly consisting of simple pottery and sculptures. This early period was followed by a series of art...

 opened in 1991, displaying a representative collection of the V&As approximately 16,000 objects from China, dating from the 4th millennium BC to the present day. Though the majority of art works on display date from the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 and Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

, there are exquisite examples of objects dating from the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 and earlier periods. Notably, a metre high bronze head of Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 dated to the c750 AD and one of the oldest items a 2,000 year old jade
Jade
Jade is an ornamental stone.The term jade is applied to two different metamorphic rocks that are made up of different silicate minerals:...

 horse head from a burial, other sculptures include life size tomb guardians. Classic examples of Chinese manufacturing are displayed which include lacquer
Lacquer
In a general sense, lacquer is a somewhat imprecise term for a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish, in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss and that can be further polished as required...

, silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

, porcelain
Porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

, jade
Jade
Jade is an ornamental stone.The term jade is applied to two different metamorphic rocks that are made up of different silicate minerals:...

 and cloisonné
Cloisonné
Cloisonné is an ancient technique for decorating metalwork objects, in recent centuries using vitreous enamel, and in older periods also inlays of cut gemstones, glass, and other materials. The resulting objects can also be called cloisonné...

 enamel. Two large ancestor portraits of a husband and wife painted in watercolour on silk date from the 18th century. There is a unique Chinese lacquerware table
Chinese lacquerware table
This lacquerware table is from the Ming Dynasty . It is unique in shape and decoration and is one of the most important objects from the period...

, made in the imperial workshops during the reign of Emperor Xuande. Examples of clothing are also displayed. One of the largest objects is a mid-17th century bed. The work of contemporary Chinese designers is also displayed.
The Toshiba
Toshiba
is a multinational electronics and electrical equipment corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It is a diversified manufacturer and marketer of electrical products, spanning information & communications equipment and systems, Internet-based solutions and services, electronic components and...

 gallery of Japanese art
Japanese art
Japanese art covers a wide range of art styles and media, including ancient pottery, sculpture in wood and bronze, ink painting on silk and paper and more recently manga, cartoon, along with a myriad of other types of works of art...

 opened in December 1986. The majority of exhibits date from 1550 to 1900, but one of the oldest pieces displayed is the 13th-century sculpture of Amida Nyorai. Examples of classic Japanese armour from the mid-19th century, steel sword blades (Katana
Katana
A Japanese sword, or , is one of the traditional bladed weapons of Japan. There are several types of Japanese swords, according to size, field of application and method of manufacture.-Description:...

), Inro
Inro
An is a traditional Japanese case for holding small objects. Because traditional Japanese garb lacked pockets, objects were often carried by hanging them from the obi, or sash. Most types of these sagemono were created for specialized contents, such as tobacco, pipes, writing brush and ink, but...

, lacquerware including the Mazarin Chest dated c1640 is one of the finest surviving pieces from Kyoto
Kyoto
is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

, porcelain including Imari
Imari porcelain
Imari porcelain is the name for Japanese porcelain wares made in the town of Arita, in the former Hizen Province, northwestern Kyūshū. They were exported to Europe extensively from the port of Imari, Saga between latter half of 17th century and former half of 18 th century, Japanese as well as the...

, Netsuke
Netsuke
Netsuke are miniature sculptures that were invented in 17th-century Japan to serve a practical function...

, woodblock prints including the work of Ando Hiroshige, graphic works include printed books, as well as a few paintings, scrolls and screens, textiles and dress including kimono
Kimono
The is a Japanese traditional garment worn by men, women and children. The word "kimono", which literally means a "thing to wear" , has come to denote these full-length robes...

s are some of the objects on display. One of the finest objects displayed is Suzuki Chokichi's bronze incense burner (koro) dated 1875, standing at over 2.25 metres high and 1.25 metres in diameter it is also one of the largest examples made.

The smaller galleries cover Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, the Himalayan
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 kingdoms and South East Asia. Korean displays include green-glazed ceramics, silk embroideries from officials' robes and gleaming boxes inlaid with mother-of-pearl made between 500 AD and 2000. Himalayan items include important early Nepalese bronze sculptures, repoussé
Repoussé and chasing
Repoussé or repoussage is a metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design in low relief. There are few techniques that offer such diversity of expression while still being relatively economical...

 work and embroidery. Tibetan art from the 14th to the 19th century is represented by notable 14th- and 15th-century religious images in wood and bronze, scroll paintings and ritual objects. Art from Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka in gold, silver, bronze, stone, terracotta and ivory represents these rich and complex cultures, the displays span the 6th to 19th centuries. Refined Hindu and Buddhist sculptures reflect the influence of India; items on show include betel-nut cutters, ivory combs and bronze palanquin hooks.

British galleries

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
    Tudor period
    The Tudor period usually refers to the period between 1485 and 1603, specifically in relation to the history of England. This coincides with the rule of the Tudor dynasty in England whose first monarch was Henry VII...

     and Stuart
    House of Stuart
    The House of Stuart is a European royal house. Founded by Robert II of Scotland, the Stewarts first became monarchs of the Kingdom of Scotland during the late 14th century, and subsequently held the position of the Kings of Great Britain and Ireland...

     Britain, 1500–1714, covering the Renaissance, Elizabethan, Jacobean, Restoration
    English Restoration
    The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

     and Baroque
    Baroque
    The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

     styles
  • Georgian Britain, 1714–1837, covering Palladianism, Rococo
    Rococo
    Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

    , Chinoiserie
    Chinoiserie
    Chinoiserie, a French term, signifying "Chinese-esque", and pronounced ) refers to a recurring theme in European artistic styles since the seventeenth century, which reflect Chinese artistic influences...

    , Neoclassicism
    Neoclassicism
    Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

    , the Regency, the influence of Chinese
    Culture of China
    Chinese culture is one of the world's oldest and most complex. The area in which the culture is dominant covers a large geographical region in eastern Asia with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, cities and provinces...

    , Indian and Egyptian styles, and the early Gothic Revival
  • Victorian
    Victorian era
    The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

     Britain, 1837–1901, covering the later phases of the Gothic Revival, French influences, Classical and Renaissance revivals, Aestheticism
    Aestheticism
    Aestheticism was a 19th century European art movement that emphasized aesthetic values more than socio-political themes for literature, fine art, the decorative arts, and interior design...

    , Japanese
    Japanese art
    Japanese art covers a wide range of art styles and media, including ancient pottery, sculpture in wood and bronze, ink painting on silk and paper and more recently manga, cartoon, along with a myriad of other types of works of art...

     style, the continuing influence of China, India, and the Islamic world, the Arts and Crafts movement
    Arts and Crafts movement
    Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

     and the Scottish School.


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
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was an Italian artist who worked principally in Rome. He was the leading sculptor of his age and also a prominent architect...

, Grinling Gibbons
Grinling Gibbons
Grinling Gibbons was an English sculptor and wood carver known for his work in England, including St Paul's Cathedral, Blenheim Palace and Hampton Court Palace. He was born and educated in Holland where his father was a merchant...

, Daniel Marot
Daniel Marot
Daniel Marot was a French Protestant, an architect, furniture designer and engraver at the forefront of the classicizing Late Baroque "Louis XIV" style....

, Louis Laguerre
Louis Laguerre
Louis Laguerre , was a French decorative painter mainly working in England.Born in Versailles in 1663 and trained at the Paris Academy under Charles Le Brun, he came to England in 1683, where he first worked with Antonio Verrio, and then on his own...

, Antonio Verrio
Antonio Verrio
The Italian-born Antonio Verrio was responsible for introducing Baroque mural painting into England and served the Crown over a thirty year period.-Career:...

, Sir James Thornhill, William Kent
William Kent
William Kent , born in Bridlington, Yorkshire, was an eminent English architect, landscape architect and furniture designer of the early 18th century.He was baptised as William Cant.-Education:...

, Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam, Canaletto
Canaletto
Giovanni Antonio Canal better known as Canaletto , was a Venetian painter famous for his landscapes, or vedute, of Venice. He was also an important printmaker in etching.- Early career :...

, Josiah Wedgwood
Josiah Wedgwood
Josiah Wedgwood was an English potter, founder of the Wedgwood company, credited with the industrialization of the manufacture of pottery. A prominent abolitionist, Wedgwood is remembered for his "Am I Not A Man And A Brother?" anti-slavery medallion. He was a member of the Darwin–Wedgwood family...

, Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton, FRS was an English manufacturer and business partner of Scottish engineer James Watt. In the final quarter of the 18th century the partnership installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines, which were a great advance on the state of the art, making possible the...

, Eleanor Coade
Eleanor Coade
Eleanor Coade was a devout Baptist and remained unmarried until her death on 16 November 1821 in Camberwell Grove, Camberwell, London. Her obituary notice was published in The Gentleman's Magazine which declared her ‘the sole inventor and proprietor of an art which deserves considerable notice’...

, Canova, John Constable
John Constable
John Constable was an English Romantic painter. Born in Suffolk, he is known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home—now known as "Constable Country"—which he invested with an intensity of affection...

, Thomas Chippendale
Thomas Chippendale
Thomas Chippendale was a London cabinet-maker and furniture designer in the mid-Georgian, English Rococo, and Neoclassical styles. In 1754 he published a book of his designs, titled The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director...

, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, William Morris
William Morris
William Morris 24 March 18343 October 1896 was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement...

, William Burges
William Burges (architect)
William Burges was an English architect and designer. Amongst the greatest of the Victorian art-architects, Burges sought in his work an escape from 19th century industrialisation and a return to the values, architectural and social, of an imagined mediaeval England...

, Charles Robert Ashbee
Charles Robert Ashbee
Charles Robert Ashbee was an English designer and entrepreneur who was a prime mover of the Arts and Crafts movement that took its craft ethic from the works of John Ruskin and its co-operative structure from the socialism of William Morris.-Early life:He was the son of businessman and erotic...

, Christopher Dresser
Christopher Dresser
Christopher Dresser was an English designer and design theorist, now widely known as one of the first and most important, independent, designers and was a pivotal figure in the Aesthetic Movement, and a major contributor to the allied Anglo-Japanese branch of the Movement; both originated in...

, James McNeill Whistler
James McNeill Whistler
James Abbott McNeill Whistler was an American-born, British-based artist. Averse to sentimentality and moral allusion in painting, he was a leading proponent of the credo "art for art's sake". His famous signature for his paintings was in the shape of a stylized butterfly possessing a long stinger...

 and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Patrons who have influenced taste are also represented by works of art from their collections, these include: Horace Walpole (a major influence on the Gothic Revival), William Thomas Beckford
William Thomas Beckford
William Thomas Beckford , usually known as William Beckford, was an English novelist, a profligate and consummately knowledgeable art collector and patron of works of decorative art, a critic, travel writer and sometime politician, reputed to be the richest commoner in England...

 and Thomas Hope.

The exhibit notes that the people who influenced style changed over time from 1500 to 1900. In the early 16th century, the Catholic Church and the British Monarchy
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 dominated taste, but as time passed, first the aristocracy, then also the middle class begin to have a greater and greater influence on taste. This mirrored rising national wealth and power, as British trade spread around the globe followed by the founding and expansion of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

.

There are five complete rooms from demolished buildings displayed in the galleries These are:
  • The parlour from the Old Palace, Bromley-by-Bow
    Bromley-by-Bow
    Bromley-by-Bow, historically and officially Bromley, is a place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is an inner-city district situated east north-east of Charing Cross.-Toponymy:...

    , dated 1606, with carved Renaissance-style oak panelling, overmantel and richly decorated plaster ceiling.
  • The parlour from 2 Henrietta Street, London, dated 1727–28, designed by James Gibbs
    James Gibbs
    James Gibbs was one of Britain's most influential architects. Born in Scotland, he trained as an architect in Rome, and practised mainly in England...

     with an elaborate ceiling with inset paintings and carved fireplace.
  • The Norfolk House
    Norfolk House
    Norfolk House, at 31 St James's Square, London, was built in 1722 for the Duke of Norfolk. It was a royal residence for a short time only, when Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of King George III, lived there 1737-1741, after his marriage in 1736 to Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, daughter of...

     Music Room, St James Square, London, dated 1756, designed by Matthew Brettingham
    Matthew Brettingham
    Matthew Brettingham , sometimes called Matthew Brettingham the Elder, was an 18th-century Englishman who rose from humble origins to supervise the construction of Holkham Hall, and eventually became one of the country's better-known architects of his generation...

     and Giovanni Battista Borra
    Giovanni Battista Borra
    Giovanni Battista Borra was an Italian architect, engineer and architectural draughtsman.-Life:...

    . The white panelling and ceiling have carved and gilded Rococo decoration with matching mirrors.
  • The Strawberry Room from, Lee Priory, Kent, dated 1783–94, designed by James Wyatt
    James Wyatt
    James Wyatt RA , was an English architect, a rival of Robert Adam in the neoclassical style, who far outdid Adam in his work in the neo-Gothic style.-Early classical career:...

     in a Gothick
    Gothic Revival architecture
    The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

     style
  • The Ante-room
    Antechamber
    An antechamber is a smaller room or vestibule serving as an entryway into a larger one. The word is formed of the Latin ante camera, meaning "room before"....

     from The Grove Harborne, Birmingham, 1877–78, designed by John Henry Chamberlain
    John Henry Chamberlain
    John Henry Chamberlain , generally known professionally as J H Chamberlain, was a nineteenth century English architect....

     in High-Victorian Neo-Gothic style.


Furthermore, there are displays of parts of rooms:
  • The Hayes Grange Room, c1585–c1620, attributed to the amateur architect John Osborne is an early example for Britain of the correct use of the classical order
    Classical order
    A classical order is one of the ancient styles of classical architecture, each distinguished by its proportions and characteristic profiles and details, and most readily recognizable by the type of column employed. Three ancient orders of architecture—the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian—originated in...

    s. Only the end wall and part of the ceiling is displayed due to the size of the room.
  • There are parts of two Robert Adam
    Robert Adam
    Robert Adam was a Scottish neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer. He was the son of William Adam , Scotland's foremost architect of the time, and trained under him...

     designed rooms on show:
    • A section of a wall from the Glass Drawing Room of Northumberland House
      Northumberland House
      Northumberland House was a large Jacobean mansion in London, which was so called because for most of its history it was the London residence of the Percy family, who were the Earls and later Dukes of Northumberland, and one of England's richest and most prominent aristocratic dynasties for many...

      , dated 1773–1775. The main panels consist of glass backed by red foil, the pilasters glass backed with green foil and covered by elaborate carvings of gilded wood, and there is a neo-classical painting inset above the door.
    • A room from the Adelphi Buildings
      Adelphi, London
      Adelphi is a district of London, England in the City of Westminster. The small district includes the streets of Adelphi Terrace, Robert Street and John Adam Street.-Adelphi Buildings:...

      , buiilt c1772, demolished in 1936. Only the ceiling and fireplace survive.


Some of the more notable works displayed in the galleries include:
  • Pietro Torrigiani's coloured terracotta bust of Henry VII
    Henry VII of England
    Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

    , dated 1509–11
  • The Dacre Heraldic Beasts, extraordinary 2 metre high carvings of a bull, gryphon, ram and salmon, in realistic colours, dated 1519-21
  • Henry VIII's writing desk
    Henry VIII's writing desk
    Henry VIII's writing desk was made in about 1525-6, it is a product of the royal workshops and is lavishly embellished with ornamental motifs introduced to Britain by continental artists...

    , dated 1525, made from walnut and oak, lined with leather and painted and gilded with the king's coat of arms
  • A spinet
    Spinet
    A spinet is a smaller type of harpsichord or other keyboard instrument, such as a piano or organ.-Spinets as harpsichords:While the term spinet is used to designate a harpsichord, typically what is meant is the bentside spinet, described in this section...

     dated 1570–1580, made for Elizabeth I
    Elizabeth I of England
    Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

  • The Great Bed of Ware
    Great Bed of Ware
    The Great Bed of Ware is an extremely large oak four poster bed, carved with marquetry, that was originally housed in the White Hart Inn in Ware, England. Built by Hertfordshire carpenter Jonas Fosbrooke circa 1590, the bed measures ten by eleven feet and can "sleep" over fifteen people at once...

    , dated 1590–1600, an elaborately carved four-poster bed with headboard inlaid with marquetry
    Marquetry
    Marquetry is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The technique may be applied to case furniture or even seat furniture, to decorative small objects with smooth, veneerable surfaces or to freestanding pictorial panels...

    , said to sleep twelve people
  • A portrait by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
    Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
    Marcus Gheeraerts was an artist of the Tudor court, described as "the most important artist of quality to work in England in large-scale between Eworth and Van Dyck" He was brought to England as a child by his father Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, also a painter...

     dated c1620 of Margaret Laton, and the actual embroidered jacket
    Margaret Laton's embroidered jacket
    Margaret Laton's jacket is a surviving example of English Jacobean embroidery, significant because it appears in a portrait which has also survived. The jacket was originally owned and worn by Margaret Laton , wife of Francis Laton who was one of the Yeomen of the Jewel House during the reigns of...

     that the sitter is wearing in the painting
  • Bernini's bust of Thomas Barker, dated c1638
  • The Mortlake
    Mortlake
    Mortlake is a district of London, England and part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It is on the south bank of the River Thames between Kew and Barnes with East Sheen inland to the south. Mortlake was part of Surrey until 1965.-History:...

     tapestry, dated to the mid-17th century, part of a series covering the story of Venus
    Venus (mythology)
    Venus is a Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex,sexual seduction and fertility, who played a key role in many Roman religious festivals and myths...

     and Vulcan
  • The wood relief of The Stoning of St Stephen, dated c1670, by Grinling Gibbons
  • The state bed from Melville House
    Melville House
    Melville House lies to the southside of Monimail in Fife. It was built in 1697 by the architect James Smith for George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville, incorporating the 14th Century Monimail Tower...

    , dated 1700, over 4.6 metres high with hangings of crimson Italian velvet and Chinese silk linings
  • Embroidery hangings
    Stoke Edith Wall Hanging
    Elegant people walking in an early 18th-century garden are depicted in this beautiful embroidered wall hanging. made in 1710-20 this is the larger of two such works which originally hung in Stoke Edith in Herefordshire. The house was built in 1697 for Paul Foley, Speaker of the House of Commons,...

     from Stoke Edith
    Stoke Edith
    Stoke Edith is a village in the English county of Herefordshire, situated on a road leading from Hereford to Ledbury. The manor belonged formerly to the Wallwynes, Milwaters and Lingen families....

     dated c1710-20
  • The Macclesfield Wine Set, dated 1719–1720, a unique set of silverware consisting of a large wine cooler, cistern and fountain for washing wine glasses, made by Anthony Nelme. This is the only complete set known to survive.
  • The life-size sculpture of George Frederick Handel
    George Frederick Handel (Roubiliac)
    This sculpture of composer George Frideric Handel is by Louis-François Roubiliac . It was commissioned by the impresario Jonathan Tyers for his famous pleasure gardens at Vauxhall. Handel is shown in the guise of Orpheus, holding a lyre...

    , dated 1738, by Louis-François Roubiliac
    Louis-François Roubiliac
    Louis-François Roubiliac was a French sculptor who worked in England, one of the four most prominent sculptors in London working in the rococo style, "probably the most accomplished sculptor ever to work in England", according to Margaret Whinney.-Works:Roubiliac was largely employed for portrait...

  • A sculpture of Castor and Pollux, dated 1767, by Joseph Nollekens
    Joseph Nollekens
    Joseph Nollekens was a sculptor from London generally considered to be the finest British sculptor of the late 18th century. He was also a founder member of the Royal Academy in 1768.-Life:...

  • A bureau dressing table, dated 1771-5, by Thomas Chippendale
  • The Duchess of Manchester's cabinet, dated 1776, designed by Robert Adam
    Robert Adam
    Robert Adam was a Scottish neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer. He was the son of William Adam , Scotland's foremost architect of the time, and trained under him...

     and incorporating Pietra Dura
    Pietra dura
    Pietra dura or pietre dure , called parchin kari in South Asia, is a term for the technique of using cut and fitted, highly-polished colored stones to create images. It is considered a decorative art...

     plaques made by Baccio Cappelli
  • Two sculptures by Canova, The Three Graces, from 1815–17, and The Sleeping Nymph, from 1822
  • The painting of Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds
    Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds
    Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds is an 1823 painting by the nineteenth-century landscape painter John Constable . This timeless image of England's most famous medieval church is one of his most celebrated works, and was commissioned by one of his closest friends, John Fisher, The...

    , dated 1823, by John Constable
  • The sculpture of Bashaw
    Bashaw (Matthew Cotes Wyatt)
    Bashaw, a Newfoundland dog, sat some fifty times for his remarkable portrait. His owner, Lord Dudley and Ward, commisssioned the marble sculpture from Matthew Cotes Wyatt in 1831...

     by Matthew Cotes Wyatt, dated 1831–34, a lifelike sculpture of the Earl of Dudley's dog trampling on a snake, made from coloured marble
  • A carpet and tapestry by William Morris
  • A Sideboard
    Sideboard (Edward William Godwin)
    This sideboard was designed by Edward William Godwin , who was one of the most important exponents of Victorian 'Japonisme', the term used to describe the appreciation and appropriation of Japanese artistic styles...

    , dated 1867–70, of ebonized mahogany and silver-plated metal work by Edward William Godwin
    Edward William Godwin
    Edward William Godwin was a progressive English architect-designer, who began his career working in the strongly polychromatic "Ruskinian Gothic" style of mid-Victorian Britain, inspired by The Stones of Venice, then moved on to provide designs in the "Anglo-Japanese taste" of the Aesthetic...

    ,
  • Furniture by Charles Rennie Mackintosh


The museum also links design to wider trends in British culture. For instance, design in the Tudor period was influenced by the spread of printed books, the increasing employment of European artists and craftsmen, and, in the late 16th century, the establishment of tapestry weaving at the Sheldon works. In the Stuart period, the increase in trade, especially with Asia, brought luxuries like carpets, lacquerware furniture, silk and porcelain, within reach of more of the population. New forms of furniture appeared in the domestic setting, such as bookcases, sofas and the increasing use of upholstery. In the Georgian age there was a growth in entertainment, Vauxhall Gardens
Vauxhall Gardens
Vauxhall Gardens was a pleasure garden, one of the leading venues for public entertainment in London, England from the mid 17th century to the mid 19th century. Originally known as New Spring Gardens, the site was believed to have opened before the Restoration of 1660 with the first mention being...

 being an example. The increase tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 drinking led to an increase in tea paraphernalia such as china, caddies and tables. European styles seen on the Grand Tour
Grand Tour
The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage...

 also influenced taste. As the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 took hold, the growth of mass production produced entrepreneurs such as Josiah Wedgwood
Josiah Wedgwood
Josiah Wedgwood was an English potter, founder of the Wedgwood company, credited with the industrialization of the manufacture of pottery. A prominent abolitionist, Wedgwood is remembered for his "Am I Not A Man And A Brother?" anti-slavery medallion. He was a member of the Darwin–Wedgwood family...

, Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton, FRS was an English manufacturer and business partner of Scottish engineer James Watt. In the final quarter of the 18th century the partnership installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines, which were a great advance on the state of the art, making possible the...

 and Eleanor Coade
Eleanor Coade
Eleanor Coade was a devout Baptist and remained unmarried until her death on 16 November 1821 in Camberwell Grove, Camberwell, London. Her obituary notice was published in The Gentleman's Magazine which declared her ‘the sole inventor and proprietor of an art which deserves considerable notice’...

. Displays on the Victorian era investigate the impact of new technology and machinery on manufacturing. Also, for the first time since the reformation, the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches had a major impact on art and design; particularly, the Gothic Revival. There is a large display on the Great Exhibition which, among other things, led to the founding of the V&A. The backlash against industrialization, led by John Ruskin
John Ruskin
John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects ranging from geology to architecture, myth to ornithology, literature to education, and botany to political...

, contributed to the Arts and Crafts movement.

Exhibits in the British Galleries:

Cast courts


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 cast
Plaster cast
A plaster cast is a copy made in plaster of another 3-dimensional form. The original from which the cast is taken may be a sculpture, building, a face, a fossil or other remains such as fresh or fossilised footprints – particularly in palaeontology .Sometimes a...

s of sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

s, frieze
Frieze
thumb|267px|Frieze of the [[Tower of the Winds]], AthensIn architecture the frieze is the wide central section part of an entablature and may be plain in the Ionic or Doric order, or decorated with bas-reliefs. Even when neither columns nor pilasters are expressed, on an astylar wall it lies upon...

s and tombs. One of these is dominated by a full-scale replica of Trajan's Column
Trajan's Column
Trajan's Column is a Roman triumphal column in Rome, Italy, which commemorates Roman emperor Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars. It was probably constructed under the supervision of the architect Apollodorus of Damascus at the order of the Roman Senate. It is located in Trajan's Forum, built near...

, cut in half in order to fit under the ceiling. The other includes reproductions of various works of Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Renaissance sculpture and architecture, including a full-size replica of Michelangelo's David. Replicas of two earlier David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

s by Donatello
Donatello
Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi , also known as Donatello, was an early Renaissance Italian artist and sculptor from Florence...

 and Verrocchio
Andrea del Verrocchio
Andrea del Verrocchio , born Andrea di Michele di Francesco de' Cioni, was an Italian sculptor, goldsmith and painter who worked at the court of Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence in the early renaissance. Few paintings are attributed to him with certainty, but a number of important painters were...

, are also included, although for conservation reasons the Verrocchio replica is displayed in a glass case.

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 in order to allow the courts to be viewed from above.

Ceramics

This is the largest and most comprehensive ceramics collection in the world, with over 75,000 objects from around the world. Every populated continent is represented.

Well represented in the collection is Meissen porcelain
Meissen porcelain
Meissen porcelain or Meissen china is the first European hard-paste porcelain that was developed from 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. After his death that October, Johann Friedrich Böttger, continued his work and brought porcelain to the market...

, from the first factory in Europe to discover the Chinese method of making porcelain. Among the finest examples are the Meissen Vulture from 1731 and the Möllendorff Dinner Service
Möllendorff Dinner Service
The Möllendorff Dinner Service of Meissen porcelain was designed in about 1762 by Frederick II the Great, King of Prussia , in collaboration with Karl Jacob Christian Klipfel, a Meissen artist and musician. Some of the figures were modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler...

, designed in 1762 by Frederick II the Great. Ceramics from the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres
Manufacture nationale de Sèvres
The manufacture nationale de Sèvres is a Frit porcelain porcelain tendre factory at Sèvres, France. Formerly a royal, then an imperial factory, the facility is now run by the Ministry of Culture.-Brief history:...

 are extensive, especially the from 18th and 19th centuries. The collection of 18th century British porcelain is the largest and finest in the world. Examples from every factory are represented, the collections of Chelsea porcelain and Worcester Porcelain being especially fine. All the major 19th-century British factories are also represented. A major boost to the collections was the Salting Bequest made in 1909, which enriched the museum's stock of Chinese and Japanese ceramics. This bequest forms part of the finest collection of East Asian pottery and porcelain in the world, including Kakiemon
Kakiemon
Kakiemon wares were produced at the factories of Arita, Saga Prefecture, Japan from the mid-17th century, with much in common with the Chinese "Famille Verte" style...

 ware.

Many famous potters, such as Josiah Wedgwood
Josiah Wedgwood
Josiah Wedgwood was an English potter, founder of the Wedgwood company, credited with the industrialization of the manufacture of pottery. A prominent abolitionist, Wedgwood is remembered for his "Am I Not A Man And A Brother?" anti-slavery medallion. He was a member of the Darwin–Wedgwood family...

, William Frend De Morgan and Bernard Leach
Bernard Leach
Bernard Howell Leach, CBE, CH , was a British studio potter and art teacher. He is regarded as the "Father of British studio pottery"-Biography:...

 as well as Mintons Ltd & Royal Doulton
Royal Doulton
The Royal Doulton Company is an English company producing tableware and collectables, dating to 1815. Operating originally in London, its reputation grew in The Potteries, where it was a latecomer compared to Spode, Wedgwood and Minton...

 are represented in the collection. There is an extensive collection of Delftware
Delftware
Delftware, or Delft pottery, denotes blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands and the tin-glazed pottery made in the Netherlands from the 16th century....

 produced in both Britain and Holland, which includes a circa 1695 flower pyramid over a metre in height. Bernard Palissy
Bernard Palissy
Bernard Palissy was a French Huguenot potter, hydraulics engineer and craftsman, famous for having struggled for sixteen years to imitate Chinese porcelain...

 has several examples of his work in the collection including dishes, jugs and candlesticks. The largest objects in the collection are a series of elaborately ornamented ceramic stoves from the 16th and 17th centuries, made in Germany and Switzerland. There is an unrivalled collection of Italian maiolica
Maiolica
Maiolica is Italian tin-glazed pottery dating from the Renaissance. It is decorated in bright colours on a white background, frequently depicting historical and legendary scenes.-Name:...

 and lustreware
Lusterware
Lusterware or Lustreware is a type of pottery or porcelain with a metallic glaze that gives the effect of iridescence, produced by metallic oxides in an overglaze finish, which is given a second firing at a lower temperature in a "muffle kiln", reduction kiln, which excludes oxygen.The first use...

 from Spain. The collection of Iznik
Iznik
İznik is a city in Turkey which is primarily known as the site of the First and Second Councils of Nicaea, the first and seventh Ecumenical councils in the early history of the Church, the Nicene Creed, and as the capital city of the Empire of Nicaea...

 pottery from Turkey is the largest in the world.

The ceramics galleries, which are located on the museum's top floor, closed for renovation in 2005. The first section, redesigned with the support of the Headley Trust and other donors, reopened in September 2009. The second and final section will open in June 2010.

Contemporary

These galleries are dedicated to temporary exhibits showcasing both trends from recent decades and the latest in design and fashion.

Fashion

The costume collection is the most comprehensive in Britain, containing over 14,000 outfits plus accessories, mainly dating from 1600 to the present. It also contains costume sketches, design notebooks, and other works on paper. 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
Talbot Hughes
Talbot Hughes was a British painter , a collector of historical costumes and miniature portraits, and writer on fine art and costume design...

 collection containing 1,442 costumes and items as a gift from Harrods
Harrods
Harrods is an upmarket department store located in Brompton Road in Brompton, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. The Harrods brand also applies to other enterprises undertaken by the Harrods group of companies including Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Aviation and Air...

 following its display at the nearby department store.

Some of the oldest items in the collection are medieval vestments, especially Opus Anglicanum
Opus Anglicanum
Opus Anglicanum or English work is a contemporary term for fine needlework of Medieval England done for ecclesiastical or secular use on clothing, hangings or other textiles, often using gold and silver threads on rich velvet or linen grounds...

. One of the most important items in the collection is the wedding suit of James II of England
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

, which is displayed in the British Galleries.

In 1971, Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton
Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton, CBE was an English fashion and portrait photographer, diarist, painter, interior designer and an Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre...

 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
Gloria Guinness
Gloria Guinness , born Gloria Rubio y Alatorre, was a Mexican-born socialite and fashion icon of the 20th century, and a contributing editor to Harper's Bazaar from 1963 until 1971...

 and Princess Lee Radziwill
Lee Radziwill
Caroline Lee Bouvier Canfield Radziwill Ross best known as Lee Radziwill, is an American socialite, public relations executive, and former actress and interior decorator. She is the younger sister of the late First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis...

, and actresses such as Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn was a British actress and humanitarian. Although modest about her acting ability, Hepburn remains one of the world's most famous actresses of all time, remembered as a film and fashion icon of the twentieth century...

 and Ruth Ford
Ruth Ford (actress)
Ruth Ford was an American model and stage and film actress. Her brother was the bohemian surrealist Charles Henri Ford. Their parents managed the Tennessee Hotel in Clarksville, Tennessee.-Life and career:As a model she posed for Harper's, Town and Country and Mademoiselle...

. After the exhibition, Beaton donated most of the exhibits to the Museum in the names of their former owners.

In 2002, the Museum acquired the Costiff collection of 178 Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood
Dame Vivienne Westwood, DBE, RDI is a British fashion designer and businesswoman, largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream.-Early life:...

 costumes. Other famous designers with work in the collection include Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel
Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel was a pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist thought, menswear-inspired fashions, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion. She was the founder of one of the most famous fashion brands, Chanel...

, Hubert de Givenchy
Hubert de Givenchy
Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy is a French aristocrat and fashion designer who founded The House of Givenchy in 1952. He is famous for having designed much of the personal and professional wardrobe of Audrey Hepburn, as well as clothing for clients such as Jacqueline Kennedy...

, Christian Dior
Christian Dior
Christian Dior , was a French fashion designer, best known as the founder of one of the world's top fashion houses, also called Christian Dior.-Life:...

, Cristóbal Balenciaga
Cristóbal Balenciaga
Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre was a Spanish Basque fashion designer and the founder of the Balenciaga fashion house....

, Yves Saint Laurent, Guy Laroche
Guy Laroche
Guy Laroche was a French fashion designer and founder of the eponymous company.Laroche began his career in millinery and, from 1949, Laroche worked for Jean Desses and eventually became his assistant. In 1955, he visited the US to investigate new ready-to-wear manufacturing methods...

, Irene Galitzine
Irene Galitzine
Princess Irene Galitzine was a Russian-Georgian-born fashion designer whose most renowned creation was the "palazzo pyjama"...

, Mila Schön
Mila Schon
Mila Schön was an Italian-born fashion designer. Marella Agnelli was one of her early clients.Born Maria Carmen Nutrizio, in Traù – now Croatia – on September 28, 1915 to wealthy Italian aristocratic parents who relocated to the Italian peninsula when Schön was a child, she is known for her...

, Valentino Garavani, Norman Norell
Norman Norell
Norman Norell was an American fashion designer, known for his elegant suits and tailored silhouettes....

, Norman Hartnell
Norman Hartnell
Sir Norman Bishop Hartnell, KCVO was a British fashion designer. Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to HM The Queen 1940, subsequently Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother...

, Zandra Rhodes
Zandra Rhodes
Zandra Rhodes, CBE, RDI, is an English fashion designer.Zandra Rhodes was introduced to the world of fashion by her mother, who was a fitter in a Paris fashion house and a teacher at Medway College of Art, now the University for the Creative Arts. Rhodes studied first at Medway and then at the...

, Hardy Amies
Hardy Amies
Hardy Amies, Ltd. is a British-based fashion house specialising in modern luxury menswear.-Sir Edwin Hardy Amies:Sir Edwin Hardy Amies, KCVO , was a British fashion designer, best known for his official title as dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II, from her accession to the throne until his...

, Mary Quant
Mary Quant
Mary Quant OBE FCSD is a British] fashion designer and British fashion icon, who was instrumental in the mod fashion movement. She was one of the designers who took credit for inventing the miniskirt and hot pants. Born in Blackheath, London, to Welsh parents, Quant brought fun and fantasy to...

, Christian Lacroix
Christian Lacroix
Christian Marie Marc Lacroix is a French fashion designer. The name may also refer to the company he founded.-Early life:Lacroix was born in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône in southern France. At a young age he began sketching historical costumes and fashions. Lacroix graduated from high school in 1969...

, Jean Muir
Jean Muir
Jean Elizabeth Muir, CBE, FCSD was an English fashion designer .-History and early career:...

 and Pierre Cardin
Pierre Cardin
Pierre Cardin Cardin was known for his avant-garde style and his Space Age designs. He prefers geometric shapes and motifs, often ignoring the female form. He advanced into unisex fashions, sometimes experimental, and not always practical...

. The museum continues to purchase modern couture fashions to add to the collection.

Jewellery

The jewellery
Jewellery
Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to...

 collection, containing over 6000 items, includes jewelry dating from Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 to the present day, as well as jewellery designs on paper. The museum owns pieces by renowned jewelers Cartier
Pierre Cartier (jeweler)
Pierre Camille Cartier was a French jeweler. He was one of three sons of Alfred Cartier and the brother of Jaques Cartier and Louis Cartier...

, Jean Schlumberger
Jean Schlumberger (jewelry designer)
Jean Michel Schlumberger was a French jewelry designer especially well-known for his work at Tiffany & Co.-Early life:...

, Peter Carl Fabergé
Peter Carl Fabergé
Peter Karl Fabergé also known as Karl Gustavovich Fabergé in Russia was a Russian jeweller of Baltic German-Danish and French origin, best known for the famous Fabergé eggs, made in the style of genuine Easter eggs, but using precious metals and gemstones rather than more mundane materials.-Early...

 and Lalique
René Lalique
René Jules Lalique was a French glass designer known for his creations of perfume bottles, vases, jewellery, chandeliers, clocks and automobile hood ornaments. He was born in the French village of Ay on 6 April 1860 and died 5 May 1945...

. Other items in the collection include diamond dress ornaments made for Catherine the Great, bracelet clasps once belonging to Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette ; 2 November 1755 – 16 October 1793) was an Archduchess of Austria and the Queen of France and of Navarre. She was the fifteenth and penultimate child of Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I....

, and the Beauharnais emerald necklace presented by Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 to his adopted daughter Hortense de Beauharnais
Hortense de Beauharnais
Hortense Eugénie Cécile Bonaparte , Queen Consort of Holland, was the stepdaughter of Emperor Napoleon I, being the daughter of his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais. She later became the wife of the former's brother, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland, and the mother of Napoleon III, Emperor of...

 in 1806. The museum also collects modern jewellery by designers such as Gerda Flockinger and Wendy Ramshaw, and African and Asian traditional jewellery. Major bequests include Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend
Chauncy Hare Townshend
Chauncy Hare Townshend, born Chauncy Hare Townsend was a 19th century English poet, clergyman, mesmerist, collector, dilettante and hypochondriac...

's collection of 154 gems bequeathed in 1869, Lady Cory's 1951 gift of major diamond jewellery from the 18th and 19th centuries, and jewellery scholar Dame Joan Evans
Joan Evans (art historian)
Dame Joan Evans, DBE was a British historian of French and English mediaeval art.Born at Nash Mills, Apsley, Hertfordshire, she was the daughter of antiquarian and businessman John Evans and his third wife, Maria Millington Lathbury...

' 1977 gift of more than 800 jewels dating from the Middle Ages to the early 19th century. A new jewellery gallery, funded by William and Judith Bollinger, opened on May 24, 2008.

Furniture and furnishings

The furniture and furnishings collection covers Britain, Europe and America from the Middle Ages to the present. The collection contains over 14,000 items that include complete rooms, musical instruments, and clock
Clock
A clock is an instrument used to indicate, keep, and co-ordinate time. The word clock is derived ultimately from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning "bell". A silent instrument missing such a mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece...

s, as well as furniture. The majority of the collection is British, dating between 1700 and 1900, The finest examples are displayed in the British Galleries. British designers with works in the collection include William Kent
William Kent
William Kent , born in Bridlington, Yorkshire, was an eminent English architect, landscape architect and furniture designer of the early 18th century.He was baptised as William Cant.-Education:...

, Henry Flitcroft
Henry Flitcroft
Henry Flitcroft was a major English architect in the second generation of Palladianism. He came from a simple background: his father was a labourer in the gardens at Hampton Court and he began as a joiner by trade. Working as a carpenter at Burlington House, he fell from a scaffold and broke his leg...

, Matthias Lock
Matthias Lock
Matthias Lock was an English 18th century furniture designer and cabinet-maker. The dates of his birth and death are unknown; but he was a disciple of Thomas Chippendale, and subsequently of the Adams, and was possibly in partnership with Henry Copeland....

, Thomas Chippendale
Thomas Chippendale
Thomas Chippendale was a London cabinet-maker and furniture designer in the mid-Georgian, English Rococo, and Neoclassical styles. In 1754 he published a book of his designs, titled The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director...

, James Stuart
James Stuart (1713-1788)
James "Athenian" Stuart was an English archaeologist, architect and artist best known for his central role in pioneering Neoclassicism.-Early life:...

, William Chambers
William Chambers
William Chambers may refer to:*William Chambers , 18th century Scottish architect*William Chambers *William Lee Chambers, judge*William Chambers , illegitimate son of the above...

, Robert Adam
Robert Adam
Robert Adam was a Scottish neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer. He was the son of William Adam , Scotland's foremost architect of the time, and trained under him...

, John Gillow, James Wyatt
James Wyatt
James Wyatt RA , was an English architect, a rival of Robert Adam in the neoclassical style, who far outdid Adam in his work in the neo-Gothic style.-Early classical career:...

, Thomas Hopper, Charles Heathcote Tatham
Charles Heathcote Tatham
Charles Heathcote Tatham , was an English architect of the early nineteenth century.-Early life:...

, A.W.N. Pugin, William Burges
William Burges
William Burges may refer to:* William Burges * William Burges...

, William Morris
William Morris
William Morris 24 March 18343 October 1896 was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement...

, Charles Voysey
Charles Voysey (architect)
Charles Francis Annesley Voysey was an English architect and furniture and textile designer. Voysey's early work was as a designer of wallpapers, fabrics and furnishings in a simple Arts and Crafts style, but he is renowned as the architect of a number of notable country houses...

, Charles Robert Ashbee
Charles Robert Ashbee
Charles Robert Ashbee was an English designer and entrepreneur who was a prime mover of the Arts and Crafts movement that took its craft ethic from the works of John Ruskin and its co-operative structure from the socialism of William Morris.-Early life:He was the son of businessman and erotic...

, Baillie Scott
Baillie Scott
Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott was a British architect and artist He was born at Beards Hill, St Peters near Ramsgate, Kent, the second eldest of ten children....

, Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Scottish architect, designer, watercolourist and artist. He was a designer in the Arts and Crafts movement and also the main representative of Art Nouveau in the United Kingdom. He had a considerable influence on European design...

, Edwin Lutyens
Edwin Lutyens
Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, OM, KCIE, PRA, FRIBA was a British architect who is known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era...

, Edward Maufe
Edward Maufe
Sir Edward Brantwood Maufe KBE, R.A, F.R.I.B.A. was an English architect and designer, noted chiefly for his work on places of worship and remembrance memorials. He was a skilled interior designer and designed many pieces of furniture...

, Wells Coates
Wells Coates
Wells Wintemute Coates OBE was an architect, designer and writer. He was, for most of his life, an ex-patriate Canadian architect who is best known for his work in England...

 & Robin Day
Robin Day
Sir Robin Day, OBE was a British political broadcaster and commentator. His obituary in the Guardian stated that "he was the most outstanding television journalist of his generation...

. The museum also hosts the national collection of wallpaper.
There are two complete 18th-century rooms from Europe on display. The Boudoir of Madame de Sévilly was designed in 1781-2 in Paris, by Claude Nicolas Ledoux
Claude Nicolas Ledoux
Claude-Nicolas Ledoux was one of the earliest exponents of French Neoclassical architecture. He used his knowledge of architectural theory to design not only in domestic architecture but town planning; as a consequence of his visionary plan for the Ideal City of Chaux, he became known as a utopian...

, with exquisitely painted panelling by Jean Simeon Rousseau de la Rottiere
Jean Simeon Rousseau de la Rottiere
Jean Simeon Rousseau de la Rottiere , the youngest son of Jules Antoine Rousseau , was a French decorative painter...

. The glittering Italian 'cabinet' of 1780 is elliptical in plan with a mirrored domed ceiling, elaborate parquet floor, and carved panelling.

The Soulages collection of Italian and French Renaissance objects was acquired between 1859 and 1865, and includes several cassone
Cassone
Among furniture in Italy, a cassone or marriage chest is a rich and showy type of chest, which may be inlaid or carved, prepared with gesso ground then painted and gilded. The cassone was one of the trophy furnishings of rich merchants and aristocrats in Italian culture, from the Late Middle Ages...

. The John Jones Collection of French 18th century art and furnishings was left to the museum in 1882, then valued at £250,000. One of the most important pieces in this collection is a marquetry
Marquetry
Marquetry is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The technique may be applied to case furniture or even seat furniture, to decorative small objects with smooth, veneerable surfaces or to freestanding pictorial panels...

 commode
Commode
A commode, commode with legs, or commode on legs is any of several pieces of furniture. The word commode comes from the French word for "convenient" or "suitable", which in turn comes from the Latin adjective commodus, with similar meanings.Originally, in French furniture, a commode introduced...

 by the ébéniste
Ébéniste
Ébéniste is the French word for a cabinetmaker, whereas in French menuisier denotes a woodcarver or chairmaker. The English equivalent for "ébéniste," "ebonist," is never commonly used. Originally, an ébéniste was one who worked with ebony, a favoured luxury wood for mid-seventeenth century...

Jean-Henri Riesener dated c1780. Other signed pieces of furniture in the collection include a bureau
Desk
A desk is a furniture form and a class of table often used in a work or office setting for reading or writing on or using a computer. Desks often have one or more drawers to store office supplies and papers. Unlike a regular table, usually only one side of a desk is suitable to sit on . Not all...

 by Jean-François Oeben
Jean-François Oeben
Jean-François Oeben, or Johann Franz Oeben was a French cabinetmaker whose career was spent in Paris. He is the maternal grandfather of the painter Eugène Delacroix....

, a pair of pedestals with inlaid brass work by André-Charles Boulle, a commode by Bernard Vanrisamburgh and a work-table by Martin Carlin
Martin Carlin
Martin Carlin was a Parisian ébéniste, born at Freiburg, who was received master at Paris in 1766.Carlin worked at first in the shop of Jean-François Oeben, whose sister he married. He set up independently in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, an unfashionable quarter of Paris, where few of his wealthy...

. Other 18th century ébénistes represented in the Museum collection include Adam Weisweiler
Adam Weisweiler
Adam Weisweiler was a pre-eminent French master cabinetmaker in the Louis XVI period, working in Paris.Weisweiler is said to have been born at Neuwied-am-Rhein and to have received his early training in David Roentgen's workshop. He was in Paris before1777, when he married Barbe Conte, and was...

, David Roentgen, Gilles Joubert
Gilles Joubert
Gilles Joubert was a Parisian ébéniste who worked for the Garde-Meuble of Louis XV for two and a half decades, beginning in 1748, earning the title ébéniste ordinaire du Garde-Meuble in 1758, and finally that of ébéniste du roi on the death of Jean-François Oeben in 1763...

 & Pierre Langlois. In 1901, Sir George Donaldson donated several pieces of art nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

 furniture to the museum, which he had acquired the previous year at the Paris Exposition Universelle
Exposition Universelle (1900)
The Exposition Universelle of 1900 was a world's fair held in Paris, France, from April 15 to November 12, 1900, to celebrate the achievements of the past century and to accelerate development into the next...

. This was criticized at the time, with the result that the museum ceased to collect contemporary items and did not do so again until the 1960s. In 1986 the Lady Abingdon collection of French Empire furniture was bequeathed by Mrs T.R.P. Hole.

There are a set of beautiful inlaid doors, dated 1580 from Antwerp City Hall
Antwerp City Hall
The City Hall of Antwerp, Belgium, stands on the western side of Antwerp's Grote Markt . Erected between 1561 and 1565 to the design of Cornelis Floris de Vriendt and several other architects and artists, this Renaissance building incorporates both Flemish and Italian influences.The low arcaded...

, attributed to Hans Vredeman de Vries
Hans Vredeman de Vries
Hans Vredeman de Vries was a Dutch Renaissance architect, painter, and engineer. Vredeman de Vries is known for his publication in 1583 on garden design and his books with many examples on ornaments and perspective ....

. 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
Ormolu
Ormolu is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-karat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze. The mercury is driven off in a kiln...

 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
Ernest Gimson
Ernest William Gimson was an English furniture designer and architect. Gimson was described by the art critic Nikolaus Pevsner as "the greatest of the English architect-designers"...

, Edward William Godwin
Edward William Godwin
Edward William Godwin was a progressive English architect-designer, who began his career working in the strongly polychromatic "Ruskinian Gothic" style of mid-Victorian Britain, inspired by The Stones of Venice, then moved on to provide designs in the "Anglo-Japanese taste" of the Aesthetic...

, Charles Voysey, Adolf Loos
Adolf Loos
Adolf Franz Karl Viktor Maria Loos was a Moravian-born Austro-Hungarian architect. He was influential in European Modern architecture, and in his essay Ornament and Crime he repudiated the florid style of the Vienna Secession, the Austrian version of Art Nouveau...

 and Otto Wagner
Otto Wagner
Otto Koloman Wagner was an Austrian architect and urban planner, known for his lasting impact on the appearance of his home town Vienna, to which he contributed many landmarks.-Life:...

 are among the late 19th century and early 20th century examples in the collection. The work of modernists in the collection include Le Corbusier
Le Corbusier
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier , was a Swiss-born French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and painter, famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930...

, Marcel Breuer
Marcel Breuer
Marcel Lajos Breuer , was a Hungarian-born modernist, architect and furniture designer of Jewish descent. One of the masters of Modernism, Breuer displayed interest in modular construction and simple forms.- Life and work :Known to his friends and associates as Lajkó, Breuer studied and taught at...

, Charles and Ray Eames
Charles and Ray Eames
Charles Ormond Eames, Jr and Bernice Alexandra "Ray" Eames were American designers, who worked in and made major contributions to modern architecture and furniture. They also worked in the fields of industrial and graphic design, fine art and film.-Charles Eames:Charles Eames, Jr was born in...

, Giò Ponti
Giò Ponti
Gio Ponti was one of the most important Italian architects, industrial designers, furniture designers, artists, and publishers of the twentieth century.-Early life:...

 and Eileen Gray
Eileen Gray
Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray was an Irish furniture designer and architect and a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture.- Biography :...

. The work of Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures and completed 500 works. Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture...

 is represented by the Kaufmann Office designed and constructed between 1934 and 1937 for the owner of a Pittsburgh department store;, not currently on display due to the closure of the Cole Wing for redevelopment as the new education centre. Contemporary designers represented in the collection include Ron Arad
Ron Arad (industrial designer)
Ron Arad is an Israeli industrial designer, artist, and architect.-Biography:Arad attended the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem between 1971–73 and the Architectural Association in London from 1974–79...

.

The most important musical instrument in the collection is a violin by Antonio Stradivari
Antonio Stradivari
Antonio Stradivari was an Italian luthier and a crafter of string instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars, violas, and harps. Stradivari is generally considered the most significant artisan in this field. The Latinized form of his surname, Stradivarius, as well as the colloquial, "Strad", is...

 dated 1699. The most unusual musical instrument on display is the giant double bass attributed to Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò is the name given to Gasparo di Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and expert double bass player of which many and very detailed historical records exist.He was born in Salò on Lake Garda, in a family with legal, artistic, musical and craft interests...

 and once owned by Domenico Dragonetti
Domenico Dragonetti
Domenico Carlo Maria Dragonetti was an Italian double bass virtuoso and composer. He stayed for thirty years in his hometown of Venice, Italy and worked at the Opera Buffa, at the Chapel of San Marco and at the Grand Opera in Vicenza...

. Edward Burne-Jones designed the grand piano in 1883 that was part of the Ionides's bequest, built by Broadwood and Sons
Broadwood and Sons
Broadwood and Sons is an English piano manufacturer, founded in 1728 by Burkat Shudi and continued after his death in 1773 by John Broadwood.- Early history :...

, of stained oak decorated with gold and silver-gilt gesso. Most of the musical instruments are either keyboards (pianos, spinets, harpsichords, organs) or string instruments, often with elaborate inlays or carving.

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
Longcase clock
A longcase clock, also tall-case clock, floor clock, or grandfather clock, is a tall, freestanding, weight-driven pendulum clock with the pendulum held inside the tower, or waist of the case. Clocks of this style are commonly 1.8–2.4 metres tall...

 of 1725, nearly 3 metres in height and japanned. Other clock makers with work in the collection include: Thomas Tompion
Thomas Tompion
Thomas Tompion was an English clock maker, watchmaker and mechanician who is still regarded to this day as the Father of English Clockmaking. Tompion's work includes some of the most historic and important clocks and watches in the world and can command very high prices whenever outstanding...

, Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy
Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy
Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy was a clockmaker, active in 18th and 19th century Britain. He succeeded his father Benjamin Vulliamy as head of the firm and clockmaker to the king.-External links:....

, John Ellicott & William Carpenter.

Glass

The 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 Ancient Egypt and continues through the Ancient Roman, Medieval, Renaissance covering areas such as Venetian glass
Venetian glass
Venetian glass is a type of glass object made in Venice, Italy, primarily on the island of Murano. It is world-renowned for being colourful, elaborate, and skillfully made....

 and Bohemian glass
Bohemian glass
Bohemian glass, or Bohemia crystal, is a decorative glass produced in regions of Bohemia and Silesia, now in the current state of the Czech Republic, since the 13th century. Oldest archaeology excavations of glass-making sites date to around 1250 and are located in the Lusatian Mountains of...

 and more recent periods, including Art Nouveau glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany
Louis Comfort Tiffany
Louis Comfort Tiffany was an American artist and designer who worked in the decorative arts and is best known for his work in stained glass. He is the American artist most associated with the Art Nouveau  and Aesthetic movements...

 and Émile Gallé
Émile Gallé
Émile Gallé was a French artist who worked in glass, and is considered to be one of the major forces in the French Art Nouveau movement.- Biography :...

, the Art Deco style is represented by several examples by René Lalique. There are many examples of crystal chandeliers both English, displayed in the British galleries and foreign for example Venetian (attributed to Giuseppe Briati) dated c1750 are in the collection. The Stained Glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

 collection is possibly the finest in the world, covering the medieval to modern periods, and covering Europe as well as Britain. Several examples of English 16th century Heraldic glass is displayed in the British Galleries. Many well known designers of stained glass are represented in the collection including, from the 19th century: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. There is also an example of Frank Lloyd Wright's work in the collection. 20th century designers include Harry Clarke
Harry Clarke
Harry Clarke was an Irish stained glass artist and book illustrator. Born in Dublin, he was a leading figure in the Irish Arts and Crafts Movement.- History :...

, John Piper
John Piper (artist)
John Egerton Christmas Piper, CH was a 20th-century English painter and printmaker. For much of his life he lived at Fawley Bottom in Buckinghamshire, near Henley-on-Thames.-Life:...

, Patrick Reyntiens
Patrick Reyntiens
Patrick Reyntiens, OBE, is an English stained glass artist.He is notable for his work on Liverpool's Roman Catholic Cathedral and on the new Coventry Cathedral in collaboration with the artist John Piper...

, Veronica Whall
Veronica Whall
Veronica Whall was a British stained glass artist, the daughter of Christopher Whall, a leader of the Arts & Crafts Movement in stained glass. At the age of 13 she had drawn part of a window for Gloucester Cathedral and she went on to become a successful stained glass artist and a director of...

 and Brian Clarke.

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 along side silverware starting in the 12th century and continuing to the present. Some of the most outstanding stained glass, dated 1243-1248 comes from the Sainte Chapelle, is displayed along with other examples in the new Medieval & Renaissance galleries. The important 13th century glass beaker known as the Luck of Edenhall
Luck of Edenhall
The "Luck of Edenhall" is a glass beaker that was made in Syria in the 13th century, elegantly decorated in blue, green, red and white enamel with gilding. Its inscription, ihs, suggests it may have been intended for a Christian purpose...

 is also displayed in these galleries. Examples of British stained glass are displayed in the British Galleries. One of the most spectacular items in the collection is the chandelier
Chandelier
A chandelier is a branched decorative ceiling-mounted light fixture with two or more arms bearing lights. Chandeliers are often ornate, containing dozens of lamps and complex arrays of glass or crystal prisms to illuminate a room with refracted light...

 by Dale Chihuly
Dale Chihuly
Dale Chihuly is an American glass sculptor and entrepreneur.-Biography:Chihuly graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington. He enrolled at the College of the Puget Sound in 1959...

 in the rotunda at the Museum's main entrance.

Metalwork

This collection of over 45,000 items covers decorative ironwork
Ironwork
Ironwork is any weapon, artwork, utensil or architectural feature made of iron especially used for decoration. There are two main types of ironwork wrought iron and cast iron. While the use of iron dates as far back as 4000BC, it was the Hittites who first knew how to extract it and develop weapons...

, both wrought
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

 and cast
Cast iron
Cast iron is derived from pig iron, and while it usually refers to gray iron, it also identifies a large group of ferrous alloys which solidify with a eutectic. The color of a fractured surface can be used to identify an alloy. White cast iron is named after its white surface when fractured, due...

, bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

, silverware
Silver (household)
Household silver or silverware includes dishware, cutlery and other household items made of sterling, Britannia or Sheffield plate silver. The term is often extended to items made of stainless steel...

, arms
Weapon
A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

 and armour
Armour
Armour or armor is protective covering used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual or a vehicle through use of direct contact weapons or projectiles, usually during combat, or from damage caused by a potentially dangerous environment or action...

, pewter
Pewter
Pewter is a malleable metal alloy, traditionally 85–99% tin, with the remainder consisting of copper, antimony, bismuth and lead. Copper and antimony act as hardeners while lead is common in the lower grades of pewter, which have a bluish tint. It has a low melting point, around 170–230 °C ,...

, brass
Brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

ware and enamel
Vitreous enamel
Vitreous enamel, also porcelain enamel in U.S. English, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 °C...

s (including many examples from Limoges
Limoges
Limoges |Limousin]] dialect of Occitan) is a city and commune, the capital of the Haute-Vienne department and the administrative capital of the Limousin région in west-central France....

). 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 (Roman Catholic, Anglican and Greek Orthodox) and Jewish liturgical vessels and items. The main silver gallery is divided into these areas: British silver pre-1800; British silver 1800 to 1900; modernist to contemporary silver; European silver. The collection includes the earliest known piece of English silver with a dated hallmark, this is a silver gilt beaker dated 1496–97.
Silversmiths' whose work is represented in the collection include Paul de Lamerie
Paul de Lamerie
Paul de Lamerie was an English silversmith. The Victoria and Albert Museum describes him as the "greatest silversmith working in England in the 18th century". Though his mark raises the market value of silver, his output was large and not all his pieces are outstanding...

 and Paul Storr
Paul Storr
Paul Storr was an English silversmith, sculptor, and designer working in the Neoclassical style during the late eighteenth and early nineteentch centuries...

 whose Castlereagh Inkstand dated 1817–19 is one of his finest works.
The main Iron Work gallery covers European wrought and cast iron from the Medieval period to the Early 20th century. The master of wrought ironwork Jean Tijou
Jean Tijou
Jean Tijou was a French Huguenot ironworker. He is known solely through his work in England, where he worked on several of the key English Baroque buildings. He arrived in England in c.1689 and enjoyed the patronage of William and Mary for whom he made gates and railings for Hampton Court Palace....

 is represented by both examples of his work and designs on paper. One of the largest items is the Hereford Screen
Hereford Screen
The Hereford Screen is a great choir screen designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and made by Coventry metalworking firm Skidmore & Co. for Hereford Cathedral, England in 1862. It was one of the Gothic Revival works in iron of the nineteenth century...

, weighing nearly 8 tonnes, 10.5 metres high and 11 metres wide, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1862 for the chancel in Hereford Cathedral
Hereford Cathedral
The current Hereford Cathedral, located at Hereford in England, dates from 1079. Its most famous treasure is Mappa Mundi, a mediæval map of the world dating from the 13th century. The cathedral is a Grade I listed building.-Origins:...

, from which it was removed in 1967. It was made by Skidmore & Company. Its structure of timber and cast iron is embellished with wrought iron, burnished brass and copper. Much of the copper and ironwork is painted in a wide range of colours. The arches and columns are decorated with polished quartz and panels of mosaic.

One of the rarest items in the collection is the 58 cm high Gloucester candlestick
Gloucester candlestick
The Gloucester Candlestick is an elaborately decorated English Romanesque gilt-bronze candlestick, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It was made for Gloucester Cathedral between 1104 and 1113.-Description:...

, dated to c1110, made from gilt bronze; with highly elaborate and intricate intertwining branches containing small figures and inscriptions, it is a tour de force of bronze casting. Also of importance is The Becket Casket
The Becket Casket
The Becket Casket is a reliquary in the V&A Museum of gilt-copper round a wooden core, decorated with champlevé enamel, and of a shape called a "chasse". It was made in about 1180-1190 in Limoges, France, and depicts one of the most infamous events in English history...

 dated c1180 to contain relics of St Thomas Becket, made from gilt copper, with enamelled scenes of the saint's martyrdom. Another highlight is the 1351 Reichenau Crozier. The Burghley Nef
Burghley Nef
The Burghley Nef is a silver-gilt salt cellar made in Paris in 1527-8 . In medieval France the word nef was applied to various types of boat-shaped containers, including the most magnificent objects intended for the dining tables and buffets of the rich...

, a salt-cellar, French, dated 1527-28, uses a nautilus shell to form the hull of a vessel, which rests on the tail of a parcelgilt mermaid, who rests on a hexagonal gilt plinth on six claw-and-ball feet. Both masts have main and top-sails, and battlemented fighting-tops are made from gold. These items are displayed in the new Medieval & Renaissance galleries.

Paintings and drawings

The collection includes about 1130 British and 650 European oil painting
Oil painting
Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments that are bound with a medium of drying oil—especially in early modern Europe, linseed oil. Often an oil such as linseed was boiled with a resin such as pine resin or even frankincense; these were called 'varnishes' and were prized for their body...

s, 6800 British watercolours, pastel
Pastel
Pastel is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all colored art media, including oil paints; the binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation....

s and 2000 miniature
Portrait miniature
A portrait miniature is a miniature portrait painting, usually executed in gouache, watercolour, or enamel.Portrait miniatures began to flourish in 16th century Europe and the art was practiced during the 17th century and 18th century...

s, for which the museum holds the national collection. Also on loan to the museum, from Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, are the Raphael Cartoons
Raphael Cartoons
The Raphael Cartoons are seven large cartoons for tapestries, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, painted by the High Renaissance painter Raphael in 1515-16 and showing scenes from the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles...

: the seven surviving (there were ten) full scale designs for tapestries in the Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City. It is famous for its architecture and its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio...

, of the lives of Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 and Paul from the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

s and the Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

. There is also on display a fresco by Pietro Perugino
Pietro Perugino
Pietro Perugino , born Pietro Vannucci, was an Italian Renaissance painter of the Umbrian school, who developed some of the qualities that found classic expression in the High Renaissance...

 dated 1522 from the church of Castello at Fontignano
Fontignano
Fontignano is a frazione of the comune of Perugia, Italy, located near Lake Trasimeno.The famous High Renaissance painter Pietro Perugino died of the plague in Fontignano in 1524 and some of his masterpieces are still preserved in Fontignano....

 (Perugia
Perugia
Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

) and is amongst the painter's last works. One of the largest objects in the collection is the Spanish tempera on wood, 670 x 486 cm, retable
Retable
A retable is a framed altarpiece, raised slightly above the back of the altar or communion table, on which are placed the cross, ceremonial candlesticks and other ornaments....

 of St George, c. 1400, consisting of numerous scenes and painted by Andrés Marzal De Sax in Valencia.

19th century British artists are well represented. John Constable and J.M.W. Turner are represented by oil paintings, water colours and drawings. One of the most unusual objects on display is Thomas Gainsborough
Thomas Gainsborough
Thomas Gainsborough was an English portrait and landscape painter.-Suffolk:Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury, Suffolk. He was the youngest son of John Gainsborough, a weaver and maker of woolen goods. At the age of thirteen he impressed his father with his penciling skills so that he let...

's experimental showbox with its back-lit landscapes, which he painted on glass, which allowed them to be changed like slides. Other landscape painters with works on display include Philip James de Loutherbourg
Philip James de Loutherbourg
Philip James de Loutherbourg, also seen as Philippe-Jacques and Philipp Jakob and with the appellation the Younger was an English artist of German origin who became known for his elaborate set designs for London theatres.-Early life:He was born in Strasbourg, where his father, the representative...

, Peter de Wint
Peter De Wint
Peter De Wint was an English landscape painter.De Wint was the son of an English physician of Dutch extraction who had come to England from New York., he was born in Stone, Staffordshire. He moved to London in 1802, and was apprenticed to John Raphael Smith, the mezzotint engraver and portrait...

 and John Ward
John Ward (painter)
John Ward was a British painter.Born and worked in Kingston upon Hull. Friend of artist William Anderson.-References:...

.

In 1857 John Sheepshanks
John Sheepshanks
John Sheepshanks , British manufacturer and art collector, was born in Leeds, and became a partner in his father's business as a cloth manufacturer....

 gifted 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
Tate Britain
Tate Britain is an art gallery situated on Millbank in London, and part of the Tate gallery network in Britain, with Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. It is the oldest gallery in the network, opening in 1897. It houses a substantial collection of the works of J. M. W. Turner.-History:It...

; artists represented are William Blake
William Blake
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

, James Barry
James Barry (painter)
James Barry , Irish painter, best remembered for his six part series of paintings entitled The Progress of Human Culture in the Great Room of the Royal Society of Arts...

, Henry Fuseli
Henry Fuseli
Henry Fuseli was a British painter, draughtsman, and writer on art, of Swiss origin.-Biography:...

, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer
Edwin Henry Landseer
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, RA was an English painter, well known for his paintings of animals—particularly horses, dogs and stags...

, Sir David Wilkie
David Wilkie (artist)
Sir David Wilkie was a Scottish painter.- Early life :Wilkie was the son of the parish minister of Cults in Fife. He developed a love for art at an early age. In 1799, after he had attended school at Pitlessie, Kettle and Cupar, his father reluctantly agreed to his becoming a painter...

, William Mulready
William Mulready
William Mulready was an Irish genre painter living in London. He is best known for his romanticizing depictions of rural scenes, and for creating Mulready stationery letter sheets, issued at the same time as the Penny Black postage stamp.-Life and family:William Mulready was born in Ennis, County...

, William Powell Frith
William Powell Frith
William Powell Frith , was an English painter specialising in genre subjects and panoramic narrative works of life in the Victorian era. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1852...

, Millais and Hippolyte Delaroche
Hippolyte Delaroche
Hippolyte Delaroche , commonly known as Paul Delaroche, was a French painter born in Paris. Delaroche was born into a wealthy family and was trained by Antoine-Jean, Baron Gros, who then painted life-size histories and had many students.The first Delaroche picture exhibited was the large Josabeth...

. Although some of Constable's works came to the museum with the Sheepshanks bequest, the majority of the artist's works were donated by his daughter Isabel in 1888, including the large number of sketches in oil, the most significant being the 1821 full size oil sketch for The Hay Wain
The Hay Wain
The Hay Wain is a painting by John Constable, finished in 1821. The painting depicts a rural scene on the River Stour in Suffolk. It hangs in the National Gallery London, and is regarded as one of the greatest British paintings.-Description:...

. Other artists with works in the collection include: Bernardino Fungai
Bernardino Fungai
Bernardino Fungai was an Italian painter.Fungai is thought to have studied under local painters in his native city of Siena, despite very little being known of his career. His paintings evince an influence from local Sienese painters and also Pietro Perugino. In 1482, he worked on frescoes for the...

, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
Marcus Gheeraerts was an artist of the Tudor court, described as "the most important artist of quality to work in England in large-scale between Eworth and Van Dyck" He was brought to England as a child by his father Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, also a painter...

, Domenico di Pace Beccafumi
Domenico di Pace Beccafumi
Domenico di Pace Beccafumi was an Italian Renaissance-Mannerist painter active predominantly in Siena. He is considered one of the last undiluted representatives of the Sienese school of painting.-Biography:...

, Fioravante Ferramola
Fioravante Ferramola
Fioravante Ferramola was an Italian painter of the Renaissance period, active mainly in Brescia. He painted the portrait of Gaston de Foix in 1512. He frescoed an Annunciation for the church of the Carmine in Brescia, and also painted for the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Brescia.-Source:...

, Jan Brueghel the Elder
Jan Brueghel the Elder
Jan Brueghel the Elder was a Flemish painter, son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder and father of Jan Brueghel the Younger. Nicknamed "Velvet" Brueghel, "Flower" Brueghel, and "Paradise" Brueghel, of which the latter two were derived from his floral still lifes which were his favored subjects, while the...

, Anthony van Dyck
Anthony van Dyck
Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next...

, Ludovico Carracci
Ludovico Carracci
Ludovico Carracci was an Italian, early-Baroque painter, etcher, and printmaker born in Bologna....

, Antonio Verrio, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo , also known as Gianbattista or Giambattista Tiepolo, was an Italian painter and printmaker from the Republic of Venice...

, Domenico Tiepolo, Canaletto, Francis Hayman
Francis Hayman
Francis Hayman was an English painter and illustrator who became one of the founding members of the Royal Academy in 1768 and later its first librarian....

, Pompeo Batoni
Pompeo Batoni
Pompeo Girolamo Batoni was an Italian painter whose style incorporated elements of the French Rococo, Bolognese classicism, and nascent Neoclassicism.-Biography:He was born in Lucca, the son of a goldsmith, Paolino Batoni...

, Benjamin West
Benjamin West
Benjamin West, RA was an Anglo-American painter of historical scenes around and after the time of the American War of Independence...

, Paul Sandby
Paul Sandby
Paul Sandby was an English map-maker turned landscape painter in watercolours, who, along with his older brother Thomas, became one of the founding members of the Royal Academy in 1768.-Life and work:...

, Richard Wilson
Richard Wilson (painter)
Richard Wilson was a Welsh landscape painter, and one of the founder members of the Royal Academy in 1768. Wilson has been described as '...the most distinguished painter Wales has ever produced and the first to appreciate the aesthetic possibilities of his country.' He is considered to be the...

, William Etty
William Etty
William Etty was an English painter, best known for his paintings of nudes.-Beginnings:In accordance with the wishes of his father, Etty served seven years of apprenticeship to a printer in Hull...

, Henry Fuseli
Henry Fuseli
Henry Fuseli was a British painter, draughtsman, and writer on art, of Swiss origin.-Biography:...

, Sir Thomas Lawrence
Thomas Lawrence (painter)
Sir Thomas Lawrence RA FRS was a leading English portrait painter and president of the Royal Academy.Lawrence was a child prodigy. He was born in Bristol and began drawing in Devizes, where his father was an innkeeper. At the age of ten, having moved to Bath, he was supporting his family with his...

, James Barry
James Barry (painter)
James Barry , Irish painter, best remembered for his six part series of paintings entitled The Progress of Human Culture in the Great Room of the Royal Society of Arts...

, Francis Danby
Francis Danby
Francis Danby was an Irish painter of the Romantic era. His imaginative, dramatic landscapes were comparable to those of John Martin. Danby initially developed his imaginative style while he was the central figure in a group of artists who have come to be known as the Bristol School...

, Richard Parkes Bonington
Richard Parkes Bonington
Richard Parkes Bonington was an English Romantic landscape painter. One of the most influential British artists of his time, the facility of his style was inspired by the old masters, yet was entirely modern in its application.-Life and work:Richard Parkes Bonington was born in the town of Arnold,...

 & Alphonse Legros
Alphonse Legros
Alphonse Legros , painter, etcher and sculptor was born in Dijon. His father was an accountant, and came from the neighbouring village of Véronnes....

.

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 Carlo Crivelli
Carlo Crivelli
Carlo Crivelli was an Italian Renaissance painter of conservative Late Gothic decorative sensibility, who spent his early years in the Veneto, where he absorbed influences from the Vivarini, Squarcione and Mantegna...

's Virgin and Child) that formed part of the Jones bequest of 1882 and as such are displayed in the galleries of continental art 1600-1800, including the portrait of the Duc d'Alençon by François Clouet
François Clouet
François Clouet , son of Jean Clouet, was a French Renaissance miniaturist and painter, particularly known for his detailed portraits of the French ruling family.-Historical references:Clouet was born in Tours....

, Gaspard Dughet
Gaspard Dughet
Gaspard Dughet , also known as Gaspard Poussin, was a French painter born in Rome.A pupil of Nicolas Poussin, Gaspard Dughet was the brother of Poussin's wife...

 and works by François Boucher
François Boucher
François Boucher was a French painter, a proponent of Rococo taste, known for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings on classical themes, decorative allegories representing the arts or pastoral occupations, intended as a sort of two-dimensional furniture...

 including his portrait of Madame de Pompadour
Madame de Pompadour
Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, also known as Madame de Pompadour was a member of the French court, and was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to her death.-Biography:...

 dated 1758, Jean François de Troy
Jean François de Troy
Jean François de Troy was a French Rococo painter and tapestry designer. He was one of a family of painters, being the son of the portrait painter François de Troy , under whom he first studied, and at whose expense he first went to Italy from 1699 to 1706, staying in Rome, but also visiting many...

, Jean-Baptiste Pater
Jean-Baptiste Pater
Jean-Baptiste Pater was a French rococo painter.Born in Valenciennes, Pater was the son of sculptor Antoine Pater and studied under him before becoming a student of painter Jean-Baptiste Guide. Pater then moved to Paris, briefly becoming a pupil of Antoine Watteau in 1713. Watteau, despite...

 and their contemporaries.

Another major Victorian benefactor was Constantine Alexander Ionides
Constantine Alexander Ionides
Constantine Alexander Ionides was a major 19th century British art patron and collector of Greek ancestry, the son of the collector Alexander Constantine Ionides. He is best known for his bequest of 82 oil paintings to the Victoria and Albert Museum. He is buried in Hove.-External links:...

, who left 82 oil paintings to the museum in 1901, including works by Botticelli, Tintoretto
Tintoretto
Tintoretto , real name Jacopo Comin, was a Venetian painter and a notable exponent of the Renaissance school. For his phenomenal energy in painting he was termed Il Furioso...

, Adriaen Brouwer
Adriaen Brouwer
Adriaen Brouwer was a Flemish genre painter active in Flanders and the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century.-Biography:...

, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet
Gustave Courbet
Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement , with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists...

, Eugène Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school...

, Théodore Rousseau
Théodore Rousseau
Pierre Étienne Théodore Rousseau , French painter of the Barbizon school, was born in Paris, of a bourgeois family.-Youth:At first he received a business training, but soon displayed aptitude for painting...

, Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas[p] , born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas, was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist...

, Jean-François Millet
Jean-François Millet
Jean-François Millet was a French painter and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France...

, Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement,...

, Edward Burne-Jones
Edward Burne-Jones
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company...

, plus watercolours and over a thousand drawings and prints

The Salting Bequest of 1909 included, amongst other works, water colours by J. M. W. Turner
J. M. W. Turner
Joseph Mallord William Turner RA was an English Romantic landscape painter, watercolourist and printmaker. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting...

. Other water colourists include: William Gilpin
William Gilpin (clergyman)
The Reverend William Gilpin was an English artist, clergyman, schoolmaster, and author, best known as one of the originators of the idea of the picturesque.-Early life:...

, Thomas Rowlandson
Thomas Rowlandson
Thomas Rowlandson was an English artist and caricaturist.- Biography :Rowlandson was born in Old Jewry, in the City of London. He was the son of a tradesman or city merchant. On leaving school he became a student at the Royal Academy...

, William Blake
William Blake
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

, John Sell Cotman
John Sell Cotman
John Sell Cotman was an English marine and landscape painter, etcher, illustrator and author, one of the leading lights of the Norwich school of artists.-Early life and work:...

, Paul Sandby, William Mulready
William Mulready
William Mulready was an Irish genre painter living in London. He is best known for his romanticizing depictions of rural scenes, and for creating Mulready stationery letter sheets, issued at the same time as the Penny Black postage stamp.-Life and family:William Mulready was born in Ennis, County...

, Edward Lear
Edward Lear
Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator, author, and poet, renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularised.-Biography:...

, James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th...

.

There is a copy of Raphael's School of Athens over 4 metres by 8 metres in size, dated 1755 by Anton Raphael Mengs
Anton Raphael Mengs
Anton Raphael Mengs was a German painter, active in Rome, Madrid and Saxony, who became one of the precursors to Neoclassical painting.- Biography :Mengs was born in 1728 at Ústí nad Labem in Bohemia...

 on display in the eastern Cast Court.

Miniaturists represented in the collection include Jean Bourdichon
Jean Bourdichon
Jean Bourdichon was a miniature painter and manuscript illuminator at the court of France between the end of the 15th century and the start of the 16th century, in the reigns of Louis XI of France, Charles VIII of France, Louis XII of France and Francis I of France....

, Hans Holbein the Younger
Hans Holbein the Younger
Hans Holbein the Younger was a German artist and printmaker who worked in a Northern Renaissance style. He is best known as one of the greatest portraitists of the 16th century. He also produced religious art, satire and Reformation propaganda, and made a significant contribution to the history...

, Nicholas Hilliard
Nicholas Hilliard
Nicholas Hilliard was an English goldsmith and limner best known for his portrait miniatures of members of the courts of Elizabeth I and James I of England. He mostly painted small oval miniatures, but also some larger cabinet miniatures, up to about ten inches tall, and at least two famous...

, Isaac Oliver
Isaac Oliver
Isaac Oliver was a French-born English portrait miniature painter.-Life and work:Born in Rouen, he moved to London in 1568 with his Huguenot parents Peter and Epiphany Oliver to escape the Wars of Religion in France...

, Peter Oliver, Jean Petitot
Jean Petitot
Jean Petitot was a French-Swiss enamel painter.-Life:He was born at Geneva, a member of a Burgundian family which had fled from France on account of religious difficulties. His father, Faulle, was a wood carver. Jean was the fourth son, and was apprenticed to a jeweller goldsmith named Pierre...

, Alexander Cooper
Alexander Cooper
Alexander Cooper was an English Baroque miniature painter.-Biography:He was the elder brother of the painter Samuel Cooper. He learned painting from Peter Oliver and was active in London from 1633 - 1642, whereupon he traveled to The Hague...

, Samuel Cooper
Samuel Cooper
Samuel Cooper was an English miniature painter, and younger brother of Alexander Cooper.He is believed to have been born in London, and was a nephew of John Hoskins, the miniature painter, by whom he was educated. He lived in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, and frequented the Covent Garden...

, Thomas Flatman
Thomas Flatman
Thomas Flatman was an English poet and miniature painter. There were several editions of his Poems and Songs . One of his self-portraits is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. A portrait of Charles II is in the Wallace Collection, London...

, Rosalba Carriera
Rosalba Carriera
Rosalba Carriera was a Venetian Rococo painter. In her younger years, she specialized in portrait miniatures...

, Christian Friedrich Zincke
Christian Friedrich Zincke
Christian Friedrich Zincke was a German miniature painter active in England in the 18th century.-Life:He was born in Dresden and died in London. He apprenticed his father and also studied painting. In 1706 he came to London to work at Charles Boit's studio, and when Boit left for France 8 years...

, George Engleheart
George Engleheart
George Engleheart was one of the greatest English painters of portrait miniatures, and a contemporary of Richard Cosway, John Smart, William Wood, and Richard Crosse.-Family and home:...

, John Smart
John Smart
John Smart , was an English painters of portrait miniatures. He was a contemporary of Richard Cosway, George Engleheart, William Wood and Richard Crosse.-Biography:He was born in Norfolk, but not much is known of his early life...

, Richard Cosway
Richard Cosway
Richard Cosway was a leading English portrait painter—more accurately a miniaturist—of the Regency era. He was a contemporary of John Smart, George Engleheart, William Wood, and Richard Crosse...

 & William Charles Ross
William Charles Ross
Sir William Charles Ross was an English portrait and portrait miniature painter of Scottish descent; early in his career, he was known for historical paintings. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1842.-Life and work:...

.

Drawings in the collection of c. 10,000 British and c. 2,000 old master works, include work by: Dürer
Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since...

, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione was an Italian Baroque artist, painter, printmaker and draftsman, of the Genoese school. He is best known now for his elaborate engravings, and as the inventor of the printmaking technique of monotyping. He was known as Il Grechetto in Italy and in France as Le...

, Bernardo Buontalenti
Bernardo Buontalenti
Bernardo Buontalenti, byname of Bernardo Delle Girandole was an Italian stage designer, architect, theatrical designer, military engineer and artist.-Biography:Buontalenti was born in Florence....

, Rembrandt, Antonio Verrio
Antonio Verrio
The Italian-born Antonio Verrio was responsible for introducing Baroque mural painting into England and served the Crown over a thirty year period.-Career:...

, Paul Sandby
Paul Sandby
Paul Sandby was an English map-maker turned landscape painter in watercolours, who, along with his older brother Thomas, became one of the founding members of the Royal Academy in 1768.-Life and work:...

, John Russell
John Russell (painter)
John Russell was an English painter renowned for his portrait work in oils and pastels, and as a writer and teacher of painting techniques.-Life and work:...

, Angelica Kauffmann
Angelica Kauffmann
Maria Anna Angelika/Angelica Katharina Kauffman was a Swiss-Austrian Neoclassical painter. Kauffman is the preferred spelling of her name; it is the form she herself used most in signing her correspondence, documents and paintings.- Early years :She was born at Chur in Graubünden, Switzerland,...

, John Flaxman
John Flaxman
John Flaxman was an English sculptor and draughtsman.-Early life:He was born in York. His father was also named John, after an ancestor who, according to family tradition, had fought for Parliament at the Battle of Naseby, and afterwards settled as a carrier or farmer in Buckinghamshire...

, Hugh Douglas Hamilton, Thomas Rowlandson
Thomas Rowlandson
Thomas Rowlandson was an English artist and caricaturist.- Biography :Rowlandson was born in Old Jewry, in the City of London. He was the son of a tradesman or city merchant. On leaving school he became a student at the Royal Academy...

, William Kilburn
William Kilburn
William Kilburn was an illustrator for William Curtis' Flora Londinensis, as well as a leading designer and printer of calico. A few hundred originals of his water colour designs, make up the Kilburn Album, housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.William Kilburn was the son of a Dublin...

, Thomas Girtin
Thomas Girtin
Thomas Girtin was an English painter and etcher. A friend and rival of J. M. W. Turner, Girtin played a key role in establishing watercolour as a reputable art form.-Biography:...

, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, David Wilkie
David Wilkie (artist)
Sir David Wilkie was a Scottish painter.- Early life :Wilkie was the son of the parish minister of Cults in Fife. He developed a love for art at an early age. In 1799, after he had attended school at Pitlessie, Kettle and Cupar, his father reluctantly agreed to his becoming a painter...

, John Martin
John Martin (painter)
John Martin was an English Romantic painter, engraver and illustrator.-Biography:Martin was born in July 1789, in a one-room family cottage, at Haydon Bridge, near Hexham in Northumberland, the 4th son of Fenwick Martin, a one time fencing master...

, Samuel Palmer
Samuel Palmer
Samuel Palmer was a British landscape painter, etcher and printmaker. He was also a prolific writer. Palmer was a key figure in Romanticism in Britain and produced visionary pastoral paintings.-Early life:...

, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer
Edwin Henry Landseer
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, RA was an English painter, well known for his paintings of animals—particularly horses, dogs and stags...

, Lord Frederic Leighton, Sir Samuel Luke Fildes
Luke Fildes
Sir Samuel Luke Fildes RA was an English painter and illustrator born at Liverpool and trained in the South Kensington and Royal Academy schools....

 and Aubrey Vincent Beardsley. Modern British artists represented in the collection include: Paul Nash
Paul Nash (artist)
Paul Nash was a British landscape painter, surrealist and war artist, as well as a book-illustrator, writer and designer of applied art. He was the older brother of the artist John Nash.-Early life:...

, Percy Wyndham Lewis, Eric Gill
Eric Gill
Arthur Eric Rowton Gill was a British sculptor, typeface designer, stonecutter and printmaker, who was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement...

, Stanley Spencer
Stanley Spencer
Sir Stanley Spencer was an English painter. Much of his work depicts Biblical scenes, from miracles to Crucifixion, happening not in the Holy Land but in the small Thames-side village where he was born and spent most of his life...

, John Piper
John Piper (artist)
John Egerton Christmas Piper, CH was a 20th-century English painter and printmaker. For much of his life he lived at Fawley Bottom in Buckinghamshire, near Henley-on-Thames.-Life:...

, Graham Sutherland
Graham Sutherland
Graham Vivien Sutherland OM was an English artist.-Early life:He was born in Streatham, attending Homefield Preparatory School, Sutton. He was then educated at Epsom College, Surrey before going up to Goldsmiths, University of London...

, Lucian Freud
Lucian Freud
Lucian Michael Freud, OM, CH was a British painter. Known chiefly for his thickly impasted portrait and figure paintings, he was widely considered the pre-eminent British artist of his time...

 and David Hockney
David Hockney
David Hockney, CH, RA, is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, who is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire and Kensington, London....

. In order to conserve the drawings, the displays in the gallery are changed regularly.

Periods and styles

These galleries cover an entire period in western design, objects on display cover all areas of the museum's collections relevant to that period, these are: Medieval and Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

; Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 and Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

; 18th century including Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

; 19th century including, Empire Style, Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 and Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

; 20th century including, Art Deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

 and Modernism
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

. All these galleries are closed but due to reopen by 2008 or 2009.

Photography

The collection contains over 500,000 images dating from the advent of photography
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

, 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 Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron
Julia Margaret Cameron
Julia Margaret Cameron was a British photographer. She became known for her portraits of celebrities of the time, and for photographs with Arthurian and other legendary themes....

, Clementina Maude
Clementina Maude, Viscountess Hawarden
Clementina Maude, Viscountess Hawarden, née Fleeming , commonly known as Lady Clementina Hawarden, was a noted portrait photographer of the 1860s. A daughter of Admiral Charles Elphinstone Fleeming, she married Cornwallis Maude, 4th Viscount Hawarden in 1845; the couple had ten children...

, Gustave Le Gray
Gustave Le Gray
Jean-Baptiste Gustave Le Gray has been called "the most important French photographer of the nineteenth century" because of his technical innovations in the still new medium of photography, his role as the teacher of other noted photographers, and the extraordinary imagination he brought to picture...

, Benjamin Brecknell Turner
Benjamin Brecknell Turner
Benjamin Brecknell Turner was one of Britain's first photographers and a founding-member of the Photographic Society of London which was formed in 1853. His images were based on the traditionally 'picturesque' styles and subjects of the generation of watercolour painters before him.Born in London,...

, Frederick Hollyer
Frederick Hollyer
Frederick Hollyer was an English photographer and engraver known for his photographic reproductions of paintings and drawings, particularly those of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and for portraits of literary and artistic figures of late Victorian and Edwardian London.-Family:Hollyer was the...

, Samuel Bourne
Samuel Bourne
Samuel Bourne was a British photographer known for his prolific seven years' work in India, from 1863 to 1870...

, Roger Fenton
Roger Fenton
Roger Fenton was a pioneering British photographer, one of the first war photographers.-Early life:Roger Fenton was born in Crimble Hall, Heap, Bury, Lancashire, 28 March 1819. His grandfather was a wealthy cotton manufacturer and banker, his father a banker and Member of Parliament...

, Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray , born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal...

, Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer considered to be the father of modern photojournalism. He was an early adopter of 35 mm format, and the master of candid photography...

, Ilse Bing
Ilse Bing
Ilse Bing was a German avant-garde and commercial photographer who produced pioneering monochrome images during the inter-war era....

, Bill Brandt
Bill Brandt
Bill Brandt was an influential British photographer and photojournalist known for his high-contrast images of British society and his distorted nudes and landscapes.-Career and life:...

, Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton
Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton, CBE was an English fashion and portrait photographer, diarist, painter, interior designer and an Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre...

 (there are over 8000 of his negative
Negative (photography)
In photography, a negative may refer to three different things, although they are all related.-A negative:Film for 35 mm cameras comes in long narrow strips of chemical-coated plastic or cellulose acetate. As each image is captured by the camera onto the film strip, the film strip advances so that...

s), Don McCullin
Don McCullin
Donald McCullin, FRPS CBE is an internationally known British photojournalist, particularly recognized for his war photography and images of urban strife...

, David Bailey, Jim Lee
Jim Lee (photographer)
Jim Lee is a London-based photographer and film director. A fashion photographer for magazines during the late sixties and seventies, he worked closely with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour in London and New York on fashion and advertising shoots...

 and Helen Chadwick
Helen Chadwick
Helen Chadwick was a British conceptual artist.-Life and work:Chadwick studied at Croydon College of Art, The Faculty of Arts and Architecture Brighton Polytechnic and then at the Chelsea School of Art....

 to the present day.

One of the more unusual collections is that of Eadweard Muybridge
Eadweard Muybridge
Eadweard J. Muybridge was an English photographer who spent much of his life in the United States. He is known for his pioneering work on animal locomotion which used multiple cameras to capture motion, and his zoopraxiscope, a device for projecting motion pictures that pre-dated the flexible...

's photographs of Animal Locomotion of 1887, this consists of 781 plates. These sequences of photographs taken a fraction of a second apart capture images of different animals and humans performimg various actions. There are several of John Thomson
John Thomson (photographer)
John Thomson was a pioneering Scottish photographer, geographer and traveller. He was one of the first photographers to travel to the Far East, documenting the people, landscapes and artifacts of eastern cultures...

's 1876-7 images of Street Life in London in the collection. The Museum also holds James Lafayette
James Lafayette
James Lafayette was the pseudonym of James Stack Lauder . He was a late Victorian and Edwardian portrait photographer, and managing director from 1898 to 1923 of a company specialising in society photographs, Lafayette Ltd....

's society portraits, a collection of over 600 photographs dating from the late 19th to early 20th centuries and portraying a wide range of society figures of the period, including bishops, generals, society ladies, Indian maharajas, Ethiopian rulers and other foreign leaders, actresses, people posing in their motor cars and a sequence of photographs recording the guests at the famous fancy dress ball held at Devonshire House
Devonshire House
Devonshire House in Piccadilly was the London residence of the Dukes of Devonshire in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was built for William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire in the Palladian style, to designs by William Kent...

 in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee.

In 2003 and 2007 Penelope Smail and Kathleen Moffat generously donated Curtis Moffat
Curtis Moffat
Curtis Moffat was an abstract photographer, color still life and society portraitist. At times he collaborated with Man Ray.-Biography:...

'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 photogram
Photogram
A photogram is a photographic image made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of a photo-sensitive material such as photographic paper and then exposing it to light. The result is a negative shadow image varying in tone, depending on the transparency of the objects used...

s or 'rayographs'.

Prints and books

The museum houses the National Art Library, containing over 750,000 books, 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 manuscript
Illuminated manuscript
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations...

s, 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 of Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

's note books. The Codex consists of three parchment-bound manuscripts, Forster I, Forster II, and Forster III, quite small in size, dated between 1490 and 1505. Their contents include a large collection of sketches and references to the equestrian sculpture commissioned by the Duke of Milan Ludovico Sforza
Ludovico Sforza
Ludovico Sforza , was Duke of Milan from 1489 until his death. A member of the Sforza family, he was the fourth son of Francesco Sforza. He was famed as a patron of Leonardo da Vinci and other artists, and presided over the final and most productive stage of the Milanese Renaissance...

 to commemorate his father Francesco Sforza. These were bequeathed with over 18,000 books to the museum in 1876 by John Forster. The Reverend Alexander Dyce
Alexander Dyce
Alexander Dyce was a Scottish dramatic editor and literary historian.He was born in Edinburgh and received his early education at the high school there, before becoming a student at Exeter College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. in 1819...

 was another benefactor of the library, leaving over 14,000 books to the museum in 1869. Amongst the books he collected are early editions in Greek and Latin of the poets and playwrights Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

, Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

, Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

, Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

, Pindar
Pindar
Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

, Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

 and Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

. More recent authors include Giovanni Boccaccio
Giovanni Boccaccio
Giovanni Boccaccio was an Italian author and poet, a friend, student, and correspondent of Petrarch, an important Renaissance humanist and the author of a number of notable works including the Decameron, On Famous Women, and his poetry in the Italian vernacular...

, Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

, Racine
Jean Racine
Jean Racine , baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine , was a French dramatist, one of the "Big Three" of 17th-century France , and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition...

, Rabelais and Molière
Molière
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature...

.

Writers whose papers are in the library are as diverse as Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

 and Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter
Helen Beatrix Potter was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her imaginative children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit which celebrated the British landscape and country life.Born into a privileged Unitarian...

. Illuminated manuscripts in the library dating from the 12th to 16th centuries include: the Eadwine Psalter
Psalter
A psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms, often with other devotional material bound in as well, such as a liturgical calendar and litany of the Saints. Until the later medieval emergence of the book of hours, psalters were the books most widely owned by wealthy lay persons and were...

, Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

; Pocket Book of Hours
Book of Hours
The book of hours was a devotional book popular in the later Middle Ages. It is the most common type of surviving medieval illuminated manuscript. Like every manuscript, each manuscript book of hours is unique in one way or another, but most contain a similar collection of texts, prayers and...

, Rheims; Missal
Missal
A missal is a liturgical book containing all instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year.-History:Before the compilation of such books, several books were used when celebrating Mass...

 from the Royal Abbey of Saint Denis, Paris; the Simon Marmion
Simon Marmion
Simon Marmion was a French or Burgundian Early Netherlandish painter of panels and illuminated manuscripts...

 Book of Hours, Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

; 1524 Charter illuminated by Lucas Horenbout
Lucas Horenbout
Lucas Horenbout, often called Hornebolte in England, was a Flemish artist who moved to England in the mid-1520s and worked there as "King's Painter" and court miniaturist to King Henry VIII from 1525 until his death...

, London; the Armagnac manuscript of the trial and rehabilitation of Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc
Saint Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" , is a national heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in eastern France who claimed divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, which paved the way for the...

, Rouen
Rouen
Rouen , in northern France on the River Seine, is the capital of the Haute-Normandie region and the historic capital city of Normandy. Once one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe , it was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy in the Middle Ages...

. also the Victorian period is represented by William Morris.

The print collection has over 500,000 items, covering: posters, greetings cards, book plates, as well as prints from the renaissance to the present, including works by Rembrandt, William Hogarth
William Hogarth
William Hogarth was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called "modern moral subjects"...

, Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Giovanni Battista Piranesi was an Italian artist famous for his etchings of Rome and of fictitious and atmospheric "prisons" .-His Life:...

, Canaletto
Canaletto
Giovanni Antonio Canal better known as Canaletto , was a Venetian painter famous for his landscapes, or vedute, of Venice. He was also an important printmaker in etching.- Early career :...

, Karl Friedrich Schinkel
Karl Friedrich Schinkel
Karl Friedrich Schinkel was a Prussian architect, city planner, and painter who also designed furniture and stage sets. Schinkel was one of the most prominent architects of Germany and designed both neoclassical and neogothic buildings.-Biography:Schinkel was born in Neuruppin, Margraviate of...

, Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter...

 and Sir William Nicholson.

Sculpture

The sculpture collection at the V&A is the most comprehensive holding of post-classical European sculpture in the world. There are approximately 17,500 objects in the collection that cover the period from about 400 AD to 1914. This covers amongst other periods Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 and Anglo Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 ivory
Ivory
Ivory is a term for dentine, which constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals, when used as a material for art or manufacturing. Ivory has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes, joint tubes, piano keys and...

 sculptures, British, French and Spanish medieval statues and carvings, the Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Victorian and Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

 periods. All uses of sculpture are represented, from tomb and memorial, to portrait, allegorical, religious, mythical, statues for gardens including fountains, as well as architectural decorations. Materials used include, marble, alabaster, stone, terracotta, wood (history of wood carving
History of wood carving
The History of wood carving has from the remotest ages the decoration of wood as a foremost art. The tendency of human nature has always been to ornament every article in use. The North American Indian carves his wooden fish-hook or his pipe stem just as the Polynesian works patterns on his paddle...

), ivory, gesso
Gesso
Gesso is a white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum, pigment, or any combination of these...

, plaster, bronze, lead and ceramics.
The collection of Italian, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical sculpture (both original and in cast form) is unequalled outside of Italy. It includes Canova's The Three Graces, which the museum jointly owns with National Galleries of Scotland
National Galleries of Scotland
The National Galleries of Scotland are the five national galleries of Scotland and two partner galleries. It is one of the country's National Collections.-List of national galleries:* The National Gallery of Scotland* The Royal Scottish Academy Building...

. Italian sculptors whose work is held by the museum include: Bartolomeo Bon
Bartolomeo Bon
Bartolomeo Bon was an Italian sculptor and architect from Campione d'Italia.Together with his father Giovanni, he worked in Venice: they finished the decoration of the famous Gothic Ca' d'Oro and the marble door of the Basilica di Santa Maria dei Frari...

, Bartolomeo Bellano
Bartolomeo Bellano
Bartolomeo Bellano, also known as Bartolomeo Vellano, was an Italian renaissance sculptor and architect who was born in Padua in 1437 or 1438...

, Luca della Robbia
Luca della Robbia
Luca della Robbia was an Italian sculptor from Florence, noted for his terra-cotta roundels.Luca Della Robbia developed a pottery glaze that made his creations more durable in the outdoors and thus suitable for use on the exterior of buildings. His work is noted for its charm rather than the drama...

, Giovanni Pisano
Giovanni Pisano
Giovanni Pisano was an Italian sculptor, painter and architect. Son of the famous sculptor Nicola Pisano, he received his training in the workshop of his father....

, Donatello, Agostino di Duccio
Agostino di Duccio
Agostino di Duccio was an Italian early Renaissance sculptor.Born in Florence, he worked in Prato with Donatello and Michelozzo, who influenced him greatly. In 1441, he was accused of stealing precious materials from a monastery in Florence and was banished from his native city as a result...

, Andrea Riccio, Antonio Rossellino
Antonio Rossellino
Antonio Gamberelli , nicknamed Antonio Rossellino for the colour of his hair, was an Italian sculptor. His older brother, from whom he received his formal training, was the painter Bernardo Rossellino....

, Andrea del Verrocchio
Andrea del Verrocchio
Andrea del Verrocchio , born Andrea di Michele di Francesco de' Cioni, was an Italian sculptor, goldsmith and painter who worked at the court of Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence in the early renaissance. Few paintings are attributed to him with certainty, but a number of important painters were...

, Antonio Lombardo
Antonio Lombardo (sculptor)
Antonio Lombardo was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, brother of Tullio Lombardo and son of Pietro Lombardo. He was born in Venice. The Lombardo family worked together to sculpt church decorations and tombs. He died in Ferrara, where he worked as marble master for Duke Alfonso I...

, Andrea Riccio, Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi
Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi
Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi , called "L'Antico" by his contemporaries for the refined interpretation of the Antique they recognized in his work, was a 16th century North Italian sculptor, known for his finely detailed small bronzes all'Antica—coolly classicizing, often with gilded details,...

, Andrea della Robbia
Andrea della Robbia
Andrea della Robbia was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, especially in ceramics. He was the son of Marco della Robbia. Andrea della Robbia's uncle, Luca della Robbia, popularized the use of glazed terra-cotta for sculpture...

, Michelozzo di Bartolomeo, Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 (represented by a freehand wax model and casts of his most famous sculptures), Jacopo Sansovino
Jacopo Sansovino
Jacopo d'Antonio Sansovino was an Italian sculptor and architect, known best for his works around the Piazza San Marco in Venice. Andrea Palladio, in the Preface to his Quattro Libri was of the opinion that Sansovino's Biblioteca Marciana was the best building erected since Antiquity...

, Alessandro Algardi
Alessandro Algardi
Alessandro Algardi was an Italian high-Baroque sculptor active almost exclusively in Rome, where for the latter decades of his life, he was the major rival of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.-Early years:...

, Antonio Calcagni, Benvenuto Cellini
Benvenuto Cellini
Benvenuto Cellini was an Italian goldsmith, sculptor, painter, soldier and musician, who also wrote a famous autobiography. He was one of the most important artists of Mannerism.-Youth:...

 (Medusa
Medusa
In Greek mythology Medusa , " guardian, protectress") was a Gorgon, a chthonic monster, and a daughter of Phorcys and Ceto. The author Hyginus, interposes a generation and gives Medusa another chthonic pair as parents. Gazing directly upon her would turn onlookers to stone...

's head dated c1547), Agostino Busti
Agostino Busti
Agostino Busti was a High Renaissance Italian sculptor.Busti was born in Busto Arsizio in northern Italy. Busti probably began his training with the sculptor and architect Benedetto Briosco. He and his brother's applications in 1512 for sculptural work at the workshop of the Milan Cathedral are...

, Bartolomeo Ammanati
Bartolomeo Ammanati
Bartolomeo Ammannati was an Italian architect and sculptor, born at Settignano, near Florence. He studied under Baccio Bandinelli and Jacopo Sansovino and closely imitated the style of Michelangelo.He was more distinguished in architecture than in sculpture...

, Giacomo della Porta
Giacomo della Porta
Giacomo della Porta was an Italian architect and sculptor, who worked on many important buildings in Rome, including St. Peter's Basilica. He was born at Porlezza, Lombardy and died in Rome.-Biography:...

, Giambologna
Giambologna
Giambologna, born as Jean Boulogne, incorrectly known as Giovanni da Bologna and Giovanni Bologna , was a sculptor, known for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renaissance or Mannerist style.- Biography :...

 (Samson Slaying a Philistine (Giambologna)
Samson Slaying a Philistine (Giambologna)
The sculpture of Samson Slaying a Philistine is the earliest of the great marble groups by Giambologna , sculptor to the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany, and the only substantial work by the artist to have left Italy. It was commissioned in about 1562, by Francesco de Medici for a fountain in...

 c1562, his finest work outside Italy), Bernini (Neptune and Triton
Neptune and Triton (Bernini)
Neptune and Triton is an early sculpture by the 17th century Italian sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It is housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum of London dated c. 1620-22...

 c1622–3), Giovanni Battista Foggini
Giovanni Battista Foggini
thumb|Tomb of [[Galileo Galilei]] in [[Santa Croce, Florence]].Giovanni Battista Foggini was an Italian sculptor active in Florence, renowned mainly for small bronze statuary.-Biography:...

, Vincenzo Foggini (Samson and the Philistines), Massimiliano Soldani Benzi
Massimiliano Soldani Benzi
Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi or Massimiliano Soldani was an Italian sculptor and medallist, mainly active in Florence....

, Antonio Corradini
Antonio Corradini
Antonio Corradini was a Venetian Rococo sculptor.Corradini was born in Este and worked mainly in the Veneto, but also completed commissions for work outside Venice, including Naples....

, Andrea Brustolon
Andrea Brustolon
Andrea Brustolon was an Italian sculptor in wood. He is known for his furnishings in the Baroque style and devotional sculptures.-Biography:...

, Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Giovanni Battista Piranesi was an Italian artist famous for his etchings of Rome and of fictitious and atmospheric "prisons" .-His Life:...

, Innocenzo Spinazzi
Innocenzo Spinazzi
Innocenzo Spinazzi was an Italian sculptor of the Rococo period active in Rome and Florence.-Biography:Born in Rome to a silversmith, he became the leading sculptor in Florence, where he died. He was trained by Giovanni Battista Maini...

, Canova, Carlo Marochetti
Carlo Marochetti
Baron Carlo Marochetti was a sculptor, born in Turin but raised in Paris as a French citizen.-Life:Carlo Marochetti was born on 4 January 1805. His first teachers were François Joseph Bosio and Antoine-Jean Gros in Paris. Here his statue of A Young Girl playing with a Dog won a medal in 1829, and...

 and Rafaelle Monti
Rafaelle Monti
Raffaelo Monti was an Italian sculptor/author/poet born in Milan. He studied under his father, the noted sculptor Gaetano Matteo Monti...

. An unusual sculpture is the ancient Roman statue of Narcissus restored by Valerio Cioli c1564 with plaster. There are several small scale bronzes by Donatello, Alessandro Vittoria
Alessandro Vittoria
Alessandro Vittoria was an Italian Mannerist sculptor of the Venetian school, "one of the main representatives of the Venetian classical style" and rivalling Giambologna as the foremost sculptors of the late 16th century in Italy....

, Tiziano Aspetti
Tiziano Aspetti
Tiziano Aspetti was an Italian sculptor of the Renaissance. He was born in Padua, and active mainly there and in Venice. He completed both large and small sculpture in bronze...

 & Francesco Fanelli
Francesco Fanelli
Francesco Fanelli was an Italian sculptor, born in Florence, who spent most of his career in England.He is recorded at work in Genoa in 1609-10 then worked in London from about 1610, as a sculptor in ivory — Joachim von Sandrart mentions an ivory statuette of Pygmalion that attracted the attention...

 in the collection. The largest item from Italy is the Chancel Chapel from Santa Chiara Florence dated 1493–1500, designed by Giuliano da Sangallo
Giuliano da Sangallo
Giuliano da Sangallo was an Italian sculptor, architect and military engineer active during the Italian Renaissance.He was born in Florence. His father Francesco Giamberti was a woodworker and architect, much employed by Cosimo de Medici, and his brother Antonio da Sangallo the Elder and nephew...

 it is 11.1 metres in height by 5.4 metres square, it includes a grand sculpted tabernacle by Antonio Rossellino and coloured terracotta decoration.
Rodin
Auguste Rodin
François-Auguste-René Rodin , known as Auguste Rodin , was a French sculptor. Although Rodin is generally considered the progenitor of modern sculpture, he did not set out to rebel against the past...

 is represented by over 20 works in the museum collection, making it one of the largest collections of the sculptor's work outside France; these were gifted to the museum by the sculptor in 1914, as acknowledgement of Britain's support of France in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, although the statue of St John the Baptist had been purchased in 1902 by public subscription. Other French sculptors with work in the collection are Hubert Le Sueur
Hubert Le Sueur
Hubert Le Sueur was a French sculptor with the contemporaneous reputation of having trained in Giambologna's Florentine workshop, who assisted Giambologna's foreman, Pietro Tacca, in Paris, finishing and erecting the equestrian statue of Henri IV on the Pont Neuf...

, François Girardon
François Girardon
François Girardon was a French sculptor.He was born at Troyes. As a boy he had for master a joiner and wood-carver of his native town, named Baudesson, under whom he is said to have worked at the chateau of Liebault, where he attracted the notice of Chancellor Séguier...

, Michel Clodion, Jean-Antoine Houdon
Jean-Antoine Houdon
Jean-Antoine Houdon was a French neoclassical sculptor. Houdon is famous for his portrait busts and statues of philosophers, inventors and political figures of the Enlightenment...

, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux was a French sculptor and painter.Born in Valenciennes, Nord, son of a mason, his early studies were under François Rude. Carpeaux entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1844 and won the Prix de Rome in 1854, and moving to Rome to find inspiration, he there studied the works of...

 and Jules Dalou
Jules Dalou
Aimé-Jules Dalou was a French sculptor, recognized as one of the most brilliant virtuosos of nineteenth-century France, admired for his perceptiveness, execution, and unpretentious realism.-Life:...

.

There are also several Renaissance works by Northern European sculptors in the collection including work by: Veit Stoss
Veit Stoss
Veit Stoss was a leading Bavarian sculptor, mostly in wood, whose career covered the transition between the late Gothic and the Northern Renaissance. His style emphasized pathos and emotion, helped by his virtuoso carving of billowing drapery; it has been called "late Gothic Baroque"...

, Tilman Riemenschneider
Tilman Riemenschneider
Tilman Riemenschneider was a German sculptor and woodcarver active in Würzburg from 1483. He was one of the most prolific and versatile sculptors of the transition period between late Gothic and Renaissance, a master in stone and limewood.- Biography :Tilman Riemenschneider was born between 1459...

, Hendrick de Keyser
Hendrick de Keyser
Hendrick de Keyser was a Dutch sculptor and architect born in Utrecht, Netherlands, who was instrumental in establishing a late Renaissance form of Mannerism in Amsterdam...

, Jan van Schayck, Hans Daucher and Peter Flotner
Peter Flötner
Peter Flötner, also Flatner, Flettner, or Floetner was a German designer, sculptor, and printmaker. He was an important figure in the introduction of Italianate Renaissance design to sculpture and the decorative arts in Germany, competing in this regard with the Vischer Family of Nuremberg...

. Baroque works from the same area include the work of, Adriaen de Vries
Adriaen de Vries
Adriaen de Vries was a Northern Mannerist sculptor born in the Netherlands, whose international style crossed the threshold to the Baroque; he excelled in refined modelling and bronze casting and in the manipulation of patina and became the most famous European sculptor of his generation...

 and Sébastien Slodtz
Sébastien Slodtz
Sébastien Slodtz was a French sculptor, the father of a trio of brothers who helped shape official French sculpture between the Baroque and the Rococo. He was born at Antwerp and joined the Paris workshop of François Girardon, under whose direction he worked for the sculptural decor of Versailles...

. The Spanish sculptors with work in the collection include Alonso Berrugete and Luisa Roldán
Luisa Roldán
Luisa Ignacia Roldán , called La Roldana, was a Spanish sculptress of the Baroque Era. She is the first woman sculptor documented in Spain....

 represented by her Virgin and Child with St Diego of Alcala c1695.

Sculptors both British and Europeans who were based in Britain and whose work is in the collection include: Nicholas Stone
Nicholas Stone
Nicholas Stone was an English sculptor and architect. In 1619 he was appointed master-mason to James I, and in 1626 to Charles I....

, Caius Gabriel Cibber
Caius Gabriel Cibber
Caius Gabriel Cibber was a Danish sculptor, who enjoyed great success in England, and was the father of the actor, author and poet laureate Colley Cibber. He was appointed "carver to the king's closet" by William III....

, Grinling Gibbons
Grinling Gibbons
Grinling Gibbons was an English sculptor and wood carver known for his work in England, including St Paul's Cathedral, Blenheim Palace and Hampton Court Palace. He was born and educated in Holland where his father was a merchant...

, John Michael Rysbrack
John Michael Rysbrack
Johannes Michel or John Michael Rysbrack, original name Jan Michiel Rijsbrack , was an 18th-century Flemish sculptor. His birth-year is sometimes given as 1693 or 1684....

, Louis-Francois Roubiliac
Louis-François Roubiliac
Louis-François Roubiliac was a French sculptor who worked in England, one of the four most prominent sculptors in London working in the rococo style, "probably the most accomplished sculptor ever to work in England", according to Margaret Whinney.-Works:Roubiliac was largely employed for portrait...

, Peter Scheemakers
Peter Scheemakers
Peter Scheemakers was a Flemish Roman Catholic sculptor who worked for most of his life in London, Great Britain....

, Sir Henry Cheere, Agostino Carlini
Agostino Carlini
Agostino Carlini was an Italian sculptor and painter, who was born in Genoa but settled in England.He was also one of the founder members of the Royal Academy in 1768...

, Thomas Banks
Thomas Banks
Thomas Banks , English sculptor, son of a surveyor who was land steward to the Duke of Beaufort, was born in London. He was taught drawing by his father, and in 1750 was apprenticed to a woodcarver. In his spare time he worked at sculpture, spending his evenings in the studio of the Flemish émigré...

, Joseph Nollekens
Joseph Nollekens
Joseph Nollekens was a sculptor from London generally considered to be the finest British sculptor of the late 18th century. He was also a founder member of the Royal Academy in 1768.-Life:...

, Joseph Wilton
Joseph Wilton
Joseph Wilton was an English sculptor and one of the founding members of the Royal Academy in 1768 .Born to a wealthy family in London, Wilton trained in Flanders, Paris, Rome and Florence...

, John Flaxman
John Flaxman
John Flaxman was an English sculptor and draughtsman.-Early life:He was born in York. His father was also named John, after an ancestor who, according to family tradition, had fought for Parliament at the Battle of Naseby, and afterwards settled as a carrier or farmer in Buckinghamshire...

, Sir Francis Chantrey, John Gibson
John Gibson (sculptor)
John Gibson, was a Welsh sculptor.-Early life:He was born near Conwy, Wales, his father being a market gardener. To his mother, whom he described as ruling his father and all the family, he owed the energy and determination which carried him over every obstacle.When he was nine years old the...

, Edward Hodges Baily
Edward Hodges Baily
Edward Hodges Baily RA FRS - was an English sculptor who was born in Downend in Bristol.-Life:...

, Lord Leighton, Alfred Stevens
Alfred Stevens (sculptor)
Alfred Stevens , British sculptor, was born at Blandford Forum in Dorset.He was the son of a house painter and in the early part of his career he painted pictures in his spare time. In 1833, the rector of his parish enabled him to go to Italy, where he spent nine years studying at Naples, Pompeii,...

, Thomas Brock
Thomas Brock
Sir Thomas Brock KCB RA was an English sculptor.- Life :Brock was born in Worcester, attended the School of Design in Worcester and then undertook an apprenticeship in modelling at the Worcester Royal Porcelain Works. In 1866 he became a pupil of the sculptor John Henry Foley. He married in 1869,...

, Alfred Gilbert
Alfred Gilbert
Sir Alfred Gilbert was an English sculptor and goldsmith who enthusiastically experimented with metallurgical innovations...

, George Frampton
George Frampton
Sir George James Frampton, RA was a notable British sculptor and leading member of the New Sculpture movement.-Early life and career:...

, Eric Gill
Eric Gill
Arthur Eric Rowton Gill was a British sculptor, typeface designer, stonecutter and printmaker, who was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement...

. A sample of some of these sculptors' work is on display in the British Galleries.

With the opening of the Dorothy and Michael Hintze
Michael Hintze
Michael Hintze is an Australian/British businessman, philanthropist and political patron, based in the United Kingdom. According to the latest Forbes Rich List, he is the world’s 880th richest person, worth $1.2 billion.-Early life:...

 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, including Tate Britain, so works by Henry Moore
Henry Moore
Henry Spencer Moore OM CH FBA was an English sculptor and artist. He was best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art....

 and Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
Sir Jacob Epstein KBE was an American-born British sculptor who helped pioneer modern sculpture. He was born in the United States, and moved to Europe in 1902, becoming a British citizen in 1911. He often produced controversial works which challenged taboos on what was appropriate subject matter...

 along with other of their contemporaries are now on view. These galleries concentrate on works dated 1600 to 1950 by British sculptors, works by continental sculptors who worked in Britain, and works bought by British patrons from the continental sculptors, such as Canova's Theseus and the Minotaur. The galleries overlooking the garden are arranged by theme, tomb sculpture, portraiture, garden sculpture and mythology. Then there is a section that covers late 19th century and early 20th century sculpture, this includes work by Rodin and other French sculptors such as Dalou who spent several years in Britain where he taught sculpture.

Smaller scale works are displayed in the Gilbert Bayes gallery, covering medieval especially English alabaster
Nottingham Alabaster
Nottingham alabaster is a term used to refer to the English sculpture industry, mostly of relatively small religious carvings, which flourished from the fourteenth century until the early sixteenth century...

 sculpture, bronzes, wooden sculptures and has demonstrations of various techniques such as bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 casting using Lost-wax casting.

The majority of the Medieval and Renaissance sculpture is displayed in the new Medieval and Renaissance galleries (opened December 2009).

One of the largest objects in the collection is the Hertogenbosch Rood
Rood
A rood is a cross or crucifix, especially a large one in a church; a large sculpture or sometimes painting of the crucifixion of Jesus.Rood is an archaic word for pole, from Old English rōd "pole", specifically "cross", from Proto-Germanic *rodo, cognate to Old Saxon rōda, Old High German ruoda...

loft, from Holland, dated 1610–1613 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.

Textiles

The collection of textiles consists of over 38,000 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
Quilting
Quilting is a sewing method done to join two or more layers of material together to make a thicker padded material. A quilter is the name given to someone who works at quilting. Quilting can be done by hand, by sewing machine, or by a specialist longarm quilting system.The process of quilting uses...

 embroidery, lace
Lace
Lace is an openwork fabric, patterned with open holes in the work, made by machine or by hand. The holes can be formed via removal of threads or cloth from a previously woven fabric, but more often open spaces are created as part of the lace fabric. Lace-making is an ancient craft. True lace was...

, tapestry
Tapestry
Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length and those parallel to the width ; the warp threads are set up under tension on a...

 and carpets. These are classified by technique, countries of origin and date of production. The collections are well represented in these areas: early silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

s from the Near East, lace, European tapestries and English medieval church embroidery.

Both of the major English centres of tapestry weaving of the 16th and 17th centuries respectively, Sheldon & Mortlake
Mortlake
Mortlake is a district of London, England and part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It is on the south bank of the River Thames between Kew and Barnes with East Sheen inland to the south. Mortlake was part of Surrey until 1965.-History:...

 are represented in the collection by several examples. As are examples from John Vanderbank's workshop, the leading English tapestry manufactory in the late 17th century and early 18th century. Some of the finest tapestries are examples from the Gobelins
Gobelins manufactory
The Manufacture des Gobelins is a tapestry factory located in Paris, France, at 42 avenue des Gobelins, near the Les Gobelins métro station in the XIIIe arrondissement...

 workshop, including a set of 'Jason and the Argonauts' dating from the 1750s. Other continental centres of tapestry weaving with work in the collection include Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Tournai
Tournai
Tournai is a Walloon city and municipality of Belgium located 85 kilometres southwest of Brussels, on the river Scheldt, in the province of Hainaut....

, Beauvais
Beauvais
Beauvais is a city approximately by highway north of central Paris, in the northern French region of Picardie. It currently has a population of over 60,000 inhabitants.- History :...

, Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

 and Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

. One of the highlights of the collection is the four Devonshire Hunting Tapestries
Devonshire Hunting Tapestries
The Devonshire Hunting Tapestries are a group of four magnificent Flemish tapestries dating from the mid-fifteenth century. These enormous works, each over 3 metres wide, depict men and women in fashionable dress of the early fifteenth century hunting in a forest. The tapestries formerly belonged...

, very rare 15th century tapestries, woven in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, depicting the hunting of various animals; not just their age but their size make these unique. One of the earliest surviving examples of European quilting, the late 13th-century Siciian
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 Tristan Quilt
Tristan Quilt
The Tristan Quilt, sometimes called the Tristan and Isolde Quilt, is one of the earliest surviving quilts in the world.. Depicting scenes from the story of Tristan and Isolde, an influential romance and tragedy, it was made in Sicily during the second half of the 13h century...

, is also held by the collection. The collection has numerous examples of various types of textiles designed by William Morris, including, embroidery, woven fabrics, tapestries (Including 'The Forest' tapestry of 1887), rugs and carpets, as well as pattern books and paper designs. The art deco period is covered by rugs and fabrics designed by Marion Dorn. From the same period there is a rug designed by Serge Chermayeff
Serge Chermayeff
Serge Ivan Chermayeff was a Russian born, British architect, industrial designer, writer, and co-founder of several architectural societies, including the American Society of Planners and Architects....

.

Theatre and performance

The V&A Theatre & Performance galleries, formerly the Theatre Museum
Theatre Museum
The Theatre Museum in the Covent Garden district of London, England, was the United Kingdom's national museum of the performing arts. It was a branch of the UK's national museum of applied arts, the Victoria and Albert Museum...

, opened in March 2009. The collections are stored by the V&A and are available for research and exhibitions. They hold the UK's national collection of material about live performance in the UK since Shakespeare's day, covering drama, dance, musical theatre, circus, music hall, rock and pop, and other forms of live entertainment. Types of items displayed include costumes, set models, prompt books, and posters.

Exhibitions

The V&A holds some of the most impressive exhibitions on art in London, this is in part because of the large galleries devoted to temporary exhibitions. A typical year will see over a dozen different exhibitions being staged covering all areas of the collections. Some of the larger exhibitions of recent years have been:
  • Art Deco: 27 March – 20 July 2003
  • Gothic Art for England 1400–1547: 9 October 2003 – 18 January 2004
  • Encounters The Meeting of Asia and Europe 1500–1800: 23 September – 5 December 2004
  • International Arts and Crafts: 17 March – 24 July 2005
  • Modernism Designing a New World: 6 April 2006 – 23 July 2006
  • Kylie
    Kylie Minogue
    Kylie Ann Minogue, OBE - often known simply as Kylie - is an Australian singer, recording artist, songwriter, and actress. After beginning her career as a child actress on Australian television, she achieved recognition through her role in the television soap opera Neighbours, before commencing...

     — The Exhibition: 8 February – 10 June 2007
  • The Golden Age of Couture — Paris & London 1947-22 September 1957 2007 — 9 January 2008
  • Postmodernism, Style and Subversion 1970 to 1990: 24 September 2011 - 15 January 2012
  • Cloth of St Gereon
    Cloth of St Gereon
    The Cloth of St Gereon is a mural tapestry of a repeat pattern with a decorative motif of a bull being attacked by a griffin, a fantastic creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. The Cloth of St Gereon is the oldest known European tapestry still existing, dating to the...

    , a fragment they have in their inventory. It happens to be the oldest European tapestry still existing.

Notable exhibitions of the past include:
  • Britain Can Make It
    Britain Can Make It
    Britain Can Make It was an exhibition of industrial and product design held in London in 1946. It was organized by the Council of Industrial Design, later to become the Design Council....

    , 1946

Transport connections

Service Station/Stop Lines/Routes served
London Buses Kensington Museums 360
London Buses route 360
London Buses route 360 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, United Kingdom. The service is currently contracted to Go-Ahead London.-History:...

Victoria & Albert Museum 14
London Buses route 14
London Buses route 14 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. The service is currently contracted to Go-Ahead London.-History:...

, 74
London Buses route 74
London Buses route 74 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, United Kingdom. The service is currently contracted to Go-Ahead London.-History:...

, 414, C1
London Buses route C1
London Buses route C1 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, United Kingdom. The service is currently contracted to London United.-History:The route has always been operated by minibuses since London Transport operation...

London Underground South Kensington
South Kensington tube station
South Kensington is a London Underground station in Kensington, west London. It is served by the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines. On the District and Circle lines, the station is between Gloucester Road and Sloane Square, and on the Piccadilly Line, it is between Gloucester Road and...

 



External links



  • Victoria and Albert Museum at the Survey of London
    Survey of London
    The Survey of London is a research project to produce a comprehensive architectural survey of the former County of London. It was founded in 1894 by Charles Robert Ashbee, an Arts-and-Crafts architect and social thinker, and was motivated by a desire to record and preserve London's ancient monuments...

    online:

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