Victoria & Albert Museum, London
The Victoria and Albert Museum is part of the great complex of museums in South Kensington (the others being the Natural History Museum, the Geological Museum and the Science Museum). The idea of the "V and A" came from Prince Albert, and the museum was originally financed from the profits of the Great Exhibition of 1851. The Museum was opened in 1857 in the building which now houses the Bethnal Green Museum.
Victoria & Albert Museum Map
Official site: www.vam.ac.uk
Address: Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL, England
Opening hours: 10am-5:45pm; Wed: 10am-10pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Inquire about guided tours at the information desk. Voluntary entry charge. A program of special exhibitions and lectures is available at the Information desk.
Disability Access: Partial facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Transit: Underground: South Kensington; Buses: 14, 45A, 49, 74, 349.
Victoria & Albert Museum Highlights
There is a permanent exhibition of historical costumes from the Renaissance period to the present. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive costume collections in the world.Textiles and embroideries are incorporated into exhibitions which deal with particular periods, such as medieval, Elizabethan and 17th century.Church vestments from the eighth through the 12th centuries are displayed in a special gallery.The museum boasts a superb textile study room which contains examples of virtually every kind of known textile technique.Room 40
Gallery of China
Throughout the various sections of this exhibition can be found displays relating to Chinese burials, temples and worship, lifestyles of wealthy Chinese, complete with a canopied bed and other decorations, the Imperial Court, daily household items and collector's pieces of Chinese art.
The Ardabil Carpet, the largest Persian carpet in the world, forms the centerpiece of this impressive collection of Islamic art. Other pieces of note include a Persian gold enameled dagger with sheath, Spanish ivory boxes and, carved from a block of crystal, a 10th century Egyptian ewer.
This collection includes examples of Frank Lloyd Wright's work in furniture, printing, metalwork, books and graphics. He is best known for his architectural skills, in which he would design both the layout of the building and the furnishings that would go with it.
These typically Victorian courts were designed for art students who lacked the funds to travel to distant places where they would be able to use the original architecture as their backgrounds.
Gallery of India
The most famous piece to be found in this gallery is Tippoo's Tiger. Other important pieces include a variety of arms, armor, clothing, pottery and examples of Indian art.
Key among this collection are the Russian imperial jewels, the French imperial jewels and the Cory diamonds. Other bejeweled items such as snuff boxes and watches are also to be found in the collection.
The Gloucester candlestick of the 12th century forms the main piece for this collection. Also to be found among the treasures are a number of ivory carvings, goldwork, the Rouen treasure and fine 12th century stained glass.
National Silver Collection
A variety of silverware from England, the continent, Russia and South America is included in this display in the Victoria and Albert. Its forms include traditional tableware, toys, enameled boxes and the treasured Pusey Horn.
The Raphäel Cartoons in the Victoria and Albert, depicting the Acts of the Apostles, were originally designed for tapestries for Pope Leo X in 1515. The seven on display are currently on loan from Queen Elizabeth II.Room 48
Stained Glass Collection
The stained glass collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum includes 12th to 16th century glass. Some is from England but most is from continental sources. This collection is distributed throughout the museum.
17th to 19th Century Sculpture
Some of the more prominent statues in this gallery are Cibber's "Boy Playing Bagpipes", David's "Prometheus" and Roubiliac's "Handell".
This collection of Constable's displays his techniques through sketches in pencil, watercolor and oil.
European Decorative Gallery
The displays of this gallery demonstrate the origins of decorative arts from various architectural sources.
Gallery of Japan
A number of porcelains, ceramics and lacquerware are to be found alongside the armaments, costumes, religious artifacts and daily items of this gallery.
Gallery of Korea
A number of ceramics, lacquers, costumes and examples of metalwork are to be found among this display.
This gallery features 20th century art in the forms of books, clothing, furniture, stained glass, silverware, fabrics and an assortment of other consumer goods.