Archives for Victoria and Albert Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum Celebrate the Legacy of Plywood

PLYWOOD is a versatile material with unique qualities which offers designers infinite possibilities for creativity. When steamed, curved and moulded plywood can be manipulated into curvaceous architectural forms or laser cut using the latest technology to create intricate lace-like tracery. Even plywood scraps can be re-purposed to make eco-friendly furniture pieces.

In celebration of this remarkable material, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London mounts Plywood: Material of the Modern World, a new exhibition which highlights the significance of plywood design this summer. Iconic designs of the twentieth century relating to architecture, furniture making and transport feature throughout the displays and bring to light the ground-breaking advances in plywood manufacture which include 19th century rotary cutting and the pioneering moulding techniques of the 1930s. Christopher Wilk, exhibition co-curator and Keeper of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion at the V&A, said, “Plywood is such a common, everyday material that most people barely notice when it is used. One could say that it has been hidden in plain sight.”

Victoria and Albert Museum, plywood, design, exhibition

Moulded plywood chair designed by Grete Jalk, 1963. Photograph courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

On display will be well-known furniture pieces by Alvar Aalto, Robin Day, Charles and Ray Eames and Grete Jalk, working drawings and a fascinating array of transport designs which include a plywood canoe, a 1960s racing car with a plywood chassis and a number of vintage skateboards.

Victoria and Albert Museum, plywood, design, exhibitionDrawing of Alvar Aalto designed Finnish Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair of 1939-‘40.
Courtesy of Alvar Aalto Museum

An intriguing cluster of sculptural forms designed by Canadian-based company, Patkau Architects will be exhibited outside in the V and A’s John Madejski Garden. Cleverly constructed to withstand freezing temperatures, these plywood ice-skating shelters float on the frozen Winnipeg River and provide a welcome respite from the biting wind. Fixed to a timber frame, their flexible plywood sheets sway and creak with the elements.

Victoria and Albert Museum, plywood, design, exhibitionPatkau Architects, Ice skating shelters, Winnipeg, 2012, Courtesy of Patkau Architects


by Miranda Charalambous

Plywood: Material of the Modern World, sponsored by and supported by the American Friends of the V&A (AFV&A) opens from July 15 – 12 November 12, 2017 in the Porter Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7942 2000


Front page image: Patkau Architects, Ice skating shelters, Winnipeg, 2012, Courtesy of Patkau Architects







Victoria and Albert Museum Launch Range of Interior Paints

THE world’s leading museum of art and design, The Victoria and Albert Museum launches a new interior paint range next year. The V&A Classic Paint Collection, inspired by the Museum’s interiors is hand-crafted by Master Paintmakers, a company whose heritage dates back to the 19th Century.  Their sumptuous palette comprises 40 elegant colours designed to bring the very essence of the V&A’s interiors to the home. The Museum and Master Paintmakers will use the finest pigments to “achieve the highest quality paint product available in its category”.

Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A Classic Paint Collection
V&A Classic Paint Collection in Owen’s Teal

A quick glimpse at the new range reveals a stunning new shade of teal, a hue designed to intensify the most romantic of settings. Owen’s Teal is inspired by Owen Jones’s fabulous Moorish patterns which adorned the V&A’s early interiors. A sensational background for neutrals and crisp white china, the colour is also striking with spicy orange accents or black.


Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A Classic Paint CollectionV&A Classic Paint Collection in Reuben Red

The architect, Reuben Townroe produced the exterior mosaics for South Kensington Museum, as the V&A was once known. Reuben Red, produced for the museum’s new collection is a rich plummy hue that recalls the architect’s original designs. Highlight strong architectural features with Reuben Red for an assertive contemporary look. The colour also works well with neutrals and charcoal accents.


Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A Classic Paint CollectionV&A Classic Paint Collection in Opus Criminale

A 19th century plaster cast provided the inspiration for Trajan’s Column, a smooth contemporary white colour. It pairs well with Webb Grey named after the renowned architect, Aston Webb who designed the V&A’s main building and also the façade of Buckingham Palace.

The V&A Classic Collection will be available from retailers and online in Spring 2017. It comprises four finishes, Matt Emulsion, Eggshell, Gloss and Masonry and is suitable for furniture, walls, ceilings and woodwork both for interior and exterior surfaces.

by Miranda Charalambous

Front page image: V&A Classic Paint Collection in Opus Criminale


Victoria and Albert Museum Remembers John Lockwood Kipling

THE designer and architectural sculptor, John Lockwood Kipling is the focus of a new show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London which opens early next year. An influential figure of the Arts and Crafts Movement of the Nineteenth Century, Lockwood Kipling is perhaps better known as the illustrator of Jungle Book and Kim, stories written by his son, Rudyard. Motivated as a young man by the fabulous displays of Indian craftwork at the Great Exhibition of 1851, Lockwood became a keen advocate of Indian craft which he later taught at the Mayo School of Industrial Arts in Lahore, India (now the National College of Art).

Overlooking the John Madejski garden at the Victoria and Albert Museum is an interesting mosaic plaque commemorating Godfrey Sykes’ decorative terracotta work for the South Kensington Museum, as it was formerly known. Lockwood, who took part in the project, is shown carrying a scroll followed by Henry Cole, the first director of the museum.

Mosaic panel after Godfrey Sykes, c.a. 1866, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Far from being an imperialist, Lockwood was concerned with the decline in traditional craft skills, a consequence of the cheap European imports infiltrating India during the Industrial Revolution. As an architectural sculptor, Lockwood inclined towards natural forms which inspired new designs for industrial art, in combination with the historical works at the Lahore Museum of which he was curator. Writing in 1880, he recorded, “I have observed that very little is popularly known of the fishes of the country; many are curious in form and beautiful in colour.”

Wood Carver from a collection depicting craftsmen of the North West provinces of
British India by John Lockwood. Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

The exhibition, Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab will show original displays first seen by Lockwood at the Great Exhibition of 1851, artefacts chosen by Lockwood for the Victoria and Albert Museum and furniture he designed for Queen Victoria’s homes at Bagshot Park and Osborne House. Lockwood’s fascinating collection of sketches depicting Indian wood-carvers, metallurgists, ceramists, jewellery and toy makers will also be on display. Other exhibits include a piano decorated by Edward Burne-Jones played by Lockwood’s wife, Alice Macdonald and her embroidery for the Red House, the home of William Morris.

Bracelet shown at the Great Exhibition made in Rajasthan, India, c.a. 1850, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

by Miranda Charalambous

The free exhibition, Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab, made in collaboration with the Bard Graduate Center, New York opens from January 14 until April 2, 2017 at The Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7942 2000

Front page image: The Great Exhibition, India No.4 by Joseph Nash, c.a. 1851, Royal Collection Trust, Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2016

Pink Floyd Exhibition at the V&A Announced

THE Victoria and Albert Museum will mount a sensational new show celebrating the phenomenal success of ‘60s psychedelic rock band, Pink Floyd,  next year. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band’s debut single, Arnold Layne, and comprises a spectacular laser light-show, unseen concert footage and a host of band memorabilia.

Pink Floyd Pink Floyd 1971 Belsize Park © Pink Floyd Music Ltd

Curated by Victoria Broackes in collaboration with surviving band members and entertainment architects, Stufish the show recreates designs from the band’s spectacular sets and album covers which include The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall and The Division Bell. The exhibition highlights Pink Floyd’s pioneering approach in both sound and vision defined by Museum Director, Martin Roth as “an impressive and enduring British design story of creative success”.

floyd 1 600x400Pink Floyd. Photograph: Storm Thorgerson © Pink Floyd Music Ltd

Following the success of the V&A’s  show, David Bowie Is, this exhibition offers fans the opportunity to take part in an immersive sonic experience utilising cutting-edge museum technology by audio specialist, Sennheiser to recreate an psychedelic scene of the 60s. The show displays artefacts from the Museum’s extensive performance collections and also from band members comprising original album covers designed by Hipgnosis, Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell and Storm Thorgerson, posters, handwritten lyrics and not least, Pink Floyd’s instruments including their vintage Azimuth Co-ordinator, the first panning control for sound systems.

Attending the announcement of the exhibition, Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason said, “I did think we’d be short of material. That’s turned out to be entirely incorrect. I can’t tell you how much stuff won’t fit in.”

floyd 2 600x400Pink Floyd 1994 Division Bell publicity shot – Credit Albert Wilson © Pink Floyd Archive

by Miranda Charalambous

The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains runs from May 13 – October 1, 2017 at Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2R
Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 2000

Front page image: Pink Floyd 1971 Belsize Park © Pink Floyd Music Ltd

The exhibition is promoted by Michael Cohl of Iconic Entertainment Studios

Fun and Board Games Come to the Museum of Childhood

CATHERINE Howell, curator of the hugely popular Magic Worlds mounts a display of board games at the  V & A Museum of Childhood later this year. The exhibition traces the evolution of their design from antiquity to the electronic gaming of the present day, culminating in an intriguing participatory game for all.

MISC.161-1983 Board game - The Alice Through The Looking Glass Chess Set; carved & painted wood; made by Robin Dale & Neil Dale; U.K.; 1983.Alice in Wonderland chess set by Robin and Nell Dale, England, 1983.
Photograph © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Family favourites such as Monopoly and Cluedo and enchanting games from the 18th and 19th centuries are displayed in an array of exhibits from around the world. This exhibition highlights the lasting legacy of historical board games and their value as important cultural, geographical and even scientific resources. It also focuses on the role of design as a visual stimulus and marketing strategy, and examines their enduring appeal today.

Resize PandemicPandemic by Matt Leacock, USA, 2008.
Photograph © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

by Miranda Charalambous

Game Plan, Board Games Rediscovered opens on October 8, 2016  and is on until April 23, 2017 at the  V & A Museum of Childhood, London

English Medieval Embroidery Show to Open in London

THE Victoria and Albert Museum presents a rare opportunity to see outstanding examples of English needlework from the 11th and 16th centuries in Opus Anglicanum, Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery. A magnificent display of secular and ecclesiastical garments, the exhibition reveals the richness and complexity of these unique textiles and provides a fascinating insight into the skill and craftsmanship of their makers.

Paris, musée de Cluny - musée national du Moyen Âge. CL20367a;CL20367b.Part of a horse trapper probably made for Edward III’s Court (detail) 1330-40. Photograp © RMN –
Grand Palais (Musée de Cluny – Musée National du Moyen Âge) / Frank Raux

One of the most exciting treasures on view is a fragment from Thomas Becket’s cope, a relic which exemplifies the astonishing survival of these finely worked pieces. Apart from embroidery, a display of sculpture, metalwork, manuscripts and painting also bring context to the period.

83-1864 The Syon Cope; embroidered in coloured silks & silver-gilt thread with the Figures of Christ, The Virgin Mary & The Apostles; detail; English (Opus Anglitareum); Early 14th century.The Syon Cope (detail) 1310-1320. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

by Miranda Charalambous

Opus Anglicanum, Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery is curated by Clare Browne, Glyn Davies and consultant curator Prof MA Michael and opens October 1 and runs until  February 5, 2017 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers Support Shoe Exhibition

Cordwainers SSParakeet  shoes by Caroline Groves (b.1959). Photography by Dan Lowe

ONE of London’s oldest livery companies, The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, have announced that they are one of  the major supporters of the forthcoming exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain to open at the Victoria and Albert Museum later this year. This show explores the extremes of footwear from around the globe.

Cordwainers SS3Red ballet shoes made for Victoria Page (Moira Shearer) by Freed of London (founded in 1929) in The Red Shoes (1948), silk satin, braid and leather, England.
Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Northampton Museums and Art Gallery

Building on the success of the inaugural Cordwainers’ Footwear Student of the Year competition last year, footwear students from De Montfort University, University of Northampton and University of the Arts have been invited to enter this year’s Cordwainers’ Company National Footwear Student of the Year Competition 2015.
The Company has spearheaded this national award, as they believe is it is a “opportunity for the Cordwainers to lend the excellence and prestige of their livery company to the very best in British footwear design”. The  Company will also be hosting the award ceremony  at the V&A with prizes ranging from  £5,000 to £1,000 will be presented to the winners at the museum on 18 June.

Cordwainers SS4Mens shoes, gilded and marbled leather, Northamptonshire,
England (1925) © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Cordwainers is renowned for its strong charitable ethos and as a world leader in the education and support of the shoe industry, with their primary focus being to nurture young talent, providing bursaries to students and entrepreneurs enabling them to become top shoe designers. Graduates from Cordwainers College (before it was merged into London College of Fashion) include Patrick Cox and Jimmy Choo.

Cordwainers SS 2
One sandal, gilded and incised leather and papyrus, Egypt c30 BCE-300 CE
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

by Caroline Simpson

All images courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum on  June 13 – 31 January 2016

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty show at V&A extended

Portrait of Alexander McQueen, Photographed by Marc Hom credit redit line: © Marc Hom / Trunk ArchivePortrait of Alexander McQueen ( 1997). Photograph: Marc Hom
© Marc Hom / Trunk Archive

THE Victoria and Albert Museum have announced that more than 50,000 additional tickets have today put on sale for the gallery’s spring headline exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty which has also been extended for two weeks with additional early morning and evening slots made available to provide as many opportunities as possible for visitors to see the exhibition due to an unprecedented demand for tickets.

Spray painted dress No.13 SS1999_model Shalom Harlow. Image: CatwalkingSpray-painted dress No.13 SS99, model Shalom Harlow. Image: Catwalking

The V&A has now sold 30,000 advance tickets with online pre-bookable tickets sold out for the first five weekends of the exhibition which opens in March which breaks the gallery’s record for the most advance sales for a V&A exhibition. Tickets will be available in person at the Museum every day of the exhibition run however.

Duck feather dress by Alexander McQueen, The Horn of Plenty, A/W 2009-10, Model: Magdalena Frackowiak represented by dna model management New York, Image: firstVIEWDuck feather dress by Alexander McQueen, The Horn of Plenty AW 09-10, Model: Magdalena Frackowiak
represented by dna model management, New York, Image: firstVIEW

by Caroline Simpson

lexander McQueen: Savage Beauty opens March 14 until  August 2, 2015

Admission £16 (concessions available). V&A Members go free.  Advance booking is advised – this can be done in person at the V&A; online at; or by calling 0800 912 6961 (booking fee applies)
The Victoria and Albert Museum is on Twitter Find the show with #SavageBeauty