Victoria and Albert Museum in London

Monday, 1 August 2016 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, London, Museums, Exhibitions
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Victoria and Albert Museum entrance © Davild Iliff/cc-by-sa-3.0

Victoria and Albert Museum entrance © Davild Iliff/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A), London, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The V&A is located in the Brompton district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in an area that has become known as “Albertopolis” because of its association with Prince Albert, the Albert Memorial and the major cultural institutions with which he was associated. These include the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Royal Albert Hall. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Like other national British museums, entrance to the museum has been free since 2001. 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.

The V&A covers 12.5 acres (5.1 ha) and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. The holdings of ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewellery, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, prints and printmaking, drawings and photographs are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world. The museum owns the world’s largest collection of post-classical sculpture, with the holdings of Italian Renaissance items being the largest outside Italy. The departments of Asia include art from South Asia, China, Japan, Korea and the Islamic world. The East Asian collections are among the best in Europe, with particular strengths in ceramics and metalwork, while the Islamic collection is amongst the largest in the Western world. Overall, it is one of the largest museums in the world.

The National Art Library © flickr.com - Junho Jung/cc-by-sa-3.0 Victoria and Albert Museum entrance © Davild Iliff/cc-by-sa-3.0 11-metre high, blown glass chandelier by Dale Chihuly © Davild Iliff/cc-by-sa-3.0 Central garden © Aqwis/cc-by-sa-3.0
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11-metre high, blown glass chandelier by Dale Chihuly © Davild Iliff/cc-by-sa-3.0
A few galleries were redesigned in the 1990s including the Indian, Japanese, Chinese, iron work, the main glass galleries and the main silverware gallery which was further enhanced in 2002 when some of the Victorian decoration was recreated. This included two of the ten columns having their ceramic decoration replaced and the elaborate painted designs restored on the ceiling. As part of the 2006 renovation the mosaic floors in the sculpture gallery were restored—most of the Victorian floors were covered in linoleum after the Second World War. After the success of the British Galleries, opened in 2001, it was decided to embark on a major redesign of all the galleries in the museum; this is known as “FuturePlan”, and was created in consultation with the exhibition designers and masterplanners Metaphor. The plan is expected to take about ten years and was started in 2002. To date several galleries have been redesigned, notably, in 2002: the main Silver Gallery, Contemporary; in 2003: Photography, the main entrance, The Painting Galleries; in 2004: the tunnel to the subway leading to South Kensington tube station, New signage throughout the museum, architecture, V&A and RIBA reading rooms and stores, metalware, Members’ Room, contemporary glass, the Gilbert Bayes 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 Jiřičná designed the enhancements to the main entrance and rotunda, the new shop, the tunnel and the sculpture galleries. Gareth Hoskins was responsible for contemporary and architecture, Softroom, Islamic Middle East and the Members’ Room, McInnes Usher McKnight Architects (MUMA) were responsible for the new Cafe and designed the new Medieval and Renaissance galleries which opened in 2009. In 2011 the V&A announced that London-based practice AL A had won an international competition to construct a gallery beneath a new entrance courtyard on Exhibition Road. Planning for the scheme was granted in 2012.

The central garden was redesigned by Kim Wilkie and opened as the John Madejski Garden, on 5 July 2005. The design is a subtle blend of the traditional and modern, the layout is formal; there is an elliptical water feature lined in stone with steps around the edge which may be drained to use the area for receptions, gatherings or exhibition purposes. This is in front of the bronze doors leading to the refreshment rooms, a central path flanked by lawns leads to the sculpture gallery; the north, east and west sides have herbaceous borders along the museum walls with paths in front which continues along the south façade; in the two corners by the north façade there is planted an American Sweetgum tree; the southern, eastern and western edges of the lawns have glass planters which contain orange and lemon trees in summer, these are replaced by bay trees in winter. At night both the planters and water feature may be illuminated, and the surrounding façades lit to reveal details normally in shadow, especially noticeable are the mosaics in the loggia of the north façade. In summer a café is set up in the south west corner. The garden is also used for temporary exhibits of sculpture, for example a sculpture by Jeff Koons was shown in 2006. It has also played host to the museum’s annual contemporary design showcase, the V&A Village Fete since 2005.

Read more on Victoria and Albert Museum, VisitLondon.com – Victoria and Albert Museum and Wikipedia Victoria and Albert Museum (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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