Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London, UK.
V & A Museum, South Kensington, London
The Museum was established in 1852, following the enormous success of the Great Exhibition the previous year. Its founding principle was to make works of art available to all, to educate working people and to inspire British designers and manufacturers.
Profits from the Exhibition were used to establish the Museum of Manufactures, as it was initially known, and exhibits were purchased to form the basis of its collections. The Museum moved to its present site in 1857 and was renamed the South Kensington Museum. It acquired the best examples of metalwork, furniture, textiles and all other forms of decorative art from all periods. Funding allowed the Museum to make many important acquisitions and as the Museum grew, new buildings were added.
In 1899, Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of a new building designed to give the Museum a grand façade and main entrance. The buildings were renamed as the Victoria and Albert Museum in memory of Prince Albert’s support in starting it. Many of the buildings were intended to be semi-permanent exhibition halls but their iron frames and glass roofs survived and are one of Britain’s finest groups of Victorian buildings.
Henry Cole, the first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, wanted the Museum to be a ‘schoolroom for everyone’. The Museum collected ceramics, glass, textiles, dress, silver, ironwork, jewellery, furniture, sculpture, paintings, prints and photographs from across Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa, from ancient times to the present day.
Although the V&A’s collections are international in their scope, they contain many particularly important British works – especially British silver, ceramics, textiles and furniture. Britain’s long association with India and South East Asia allowed the museum to acquire magnificent works of art from Asia and give them their own galleries. Art is from Japan, China, and Korea, especially ceramics and metalwork, and beautiful carpets from the Islamic world.
Painted ceiling gallery.
The Victoria and Albert Museum has numerous Travelling Exhibitions which are exhibited around the world.
V & A Museum Undressed Touring Exhibition Pink Corset
Undressed : 350 Years of Underwear in Fashion looks at the history of private and intimate clothing – from corsets to court mantuas and boudoir wear to bustles – exploring underwear’s function in decorating and manipulating the body.
Long statue gallery
- A Londoners Guide To Museums In South Kensington (channelvoyager.com)
- Exhibition Preview: Victoria 4 Albert (londonist.com)
Victoria & Albert Museum (londonfocus.wordpress.com)