- Victoria and Albert Museum
(abbr the V and A)
Britain’s national museum of art and design, in South Kensington, London, established in 1852. It contains over 4 million objects, including important collections of painting, sculpture, textiles, furniture and other objects from around the world, and is one of London’s most popular museums.
* * *Museum of decorative arts in London.It was conceived by Prince Albert as a way to improve the standards of British design by making the finest models available for study. The core collection, consisting of objects purchased at the 1851 Crystal Palace exhibition, was originally called the Museum of Ornamental Art and was opened by Queen Victoria in 1857. A new building was later designed by Sir Aston Webb, and the museum was renamed when Victoria laid the cornerstone in 1899; it was opened to the public by Edward VII in 1909. It houses vast collections of European sculpture, ceramics, furniture, metalwork, jewelry, textiles, and musical instruments from medieval times to the present; remarkable Chinese ceramics, jade, and sculpture; the premier collection of Italian Renaissance sculpture outside Italy; and the outstanding national collection of British watercolours, miniatures, prints, and drawings. It is regarded as the world's greatest decorative-arts museum. Its branch museums include the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, the Theatre Museum, and the Wellington Museum.
* * *British museum that houses what is generally regarded as the world's greatest collection of the decorative arts (decorative art). It is located in South Kensington, London, near the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum.The foundation of the museum dates from 1852, when the British government established the Museum of Manufacturers in Marlborough House, St. James (Saint James). This museum largely housed a collection of decorative arts objects that had been displayed at the Crystal Palace, which housed the Great Exhibition of 1851. The items were transferred to the South Kensington Museum and redisplayed in 1857 as part of a government effort to improve taste and knowledge among those concerned with British manufactures. The collection soon outgrew its premises, and plans for a new museum were developed. The museum was renamed the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1899, when Queen Victoria (Victoria) laid the cornerstone for the present building, designed by Sir Aston Webb. This structure opened in 1909. Since then the museum's premises have been modified and extended, partly into adjacent buildings. The Victoria and Albert Museum is also responsible for two other museums in London: the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, in the borough of Tower Hamlets; and the Wellington Museum, in Apsley House, at the southeastern corner of Hyde Park. The Theatre Museum, near Covent Garden, Westminster, was a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum until January 2007, when it closed.The Victoria and Albert Museum houses vast tableaux of European sculpture, ceramics (including porcelain and other pottery), furniture, metalwork, jewelry, and textiles from early medieval times to the present day. It includes the Jones bequest of French furniture, porcelain, and other objets d'art; the Schreiber group of English ceramics, enamelwork, and glass; the Currie collection, containing fine Italian and French arms and armour; and 18th-century German porcelain that forms part of the Murray collection. There are strong sets of Indian art, which were given an early impetus with the acquisition of materials from the East India Company's museum after it was closed in 1858. The East Asian artworks include remarkable Chinese ceramics, jade, and sculpture from the Eumorfopoulos collection. The museum also houses the national collection of British watercolours, miniatures (miniature painting), prints, and drawings, among which is an outstanding group of works by John Constable (Constable, John). The Italian Renaissance (Western sculpture) and Baroque (Baroque period) sculptures are some of the best outside Italy. The museum also houses the National Art Library.
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