With the tagline 'the world's greatest museum of art and design', the Victoria and Albert Museum (better known as the V&A) certainly creates high expectations and promises a lot, and it sure does deliver. Currently, there are over two thousand years of art in almost every medium in the museum's collections, from a multitude of places all over the globe. The contrast between walking through the grand archway that is the main entrance into the museum and the humongous, abstract Dale Chihuly chandelier hanging over the information desk in the lobby wonderfully illustrates just how much the V&A holds. While their special temporary exhibitions are very much worth seeing, it's a must-do to go and see the vast array of art the V&A has on permanent display. Here are just a selection of the movements and artists that the museum covers…
The term 'Art Deco' wasn't officially created until the 1960s, but it refers to an art style that reigned supreme in the 1920s and 30s. From the immense economic high a few years after World War I to the Great Depression, Art Deco celebrated the rise of industry and the romance of Hollywood by integrating traditional crafting processes with more modern technology.
Patricia Bayer, author of Art Deco Architecture, describes Art Deco as 'an architecture of ornament, geometry, energy, retrospection, optimism, color, texture, light and at times even symbolism'. This description applies to all of the Art Deco style, not just the architecture, and because no other art style encompasses all of these factors, it’s obvious why the movement is still celebrated to this day.
We have a calendar that features some of the V&A’s Art Deco design pieces! Click here to see it.
Although Eric Ravilious worked with much more than wood, he is most famous for his woodcarvings. Ravilious was born in 1903, and unfortunately, he died (presumably) in 1942, when he was employed as a war artist. The aircraft he was on did not return from its mission.
Much before his time as a war artist, however, Ravilious was educated by Paul Nash, who was especially enthusiastic about wood engraving. Nash was so impressed by Ravilious’ work that in 1925, a year after Ravilious was under his tutelage, he nominated Eric to become a member of the Society for Wood Engravers. With such a prestigious title under his belt, Ravilious soon shot to fame, and he was able to expand his horizons and master other mediums.
If you’d like to admire some of Ravilious’ wood engravings every day, you can buy our calendar, which features a selection of delightful pieces from the V&A’s collection.
William Morris Wallpapers
William Morris, who was born in 1834 and died in 1896, was a huge figure in the British Arts and Crafts movement. In 1861, he helped found a decorative arts company that aimed to bring decoration back as a fine art and also keep it anti-elitist and affordable. His main claim to fame, however, are the wallpapers he designed.
Morris & Co. still exists as a brand today, and modern day reproductions of his wallpapers can be bought so everyone who wishes to decorate his or her home with Morris’ work absolutely can. We also have created a calendar that features some of Morris’ most beautiful wallpaper patterns from the V&A’s collection: click here to find out more!
The distinctive style that arose from 1951's Festival of Britain is ever popular – unsurprising due to the appeal of bold lines and 'retro' aesthetics.
We also have a calendar that features some 1950s textile designs from, of course, the V&A’s collection. Check it out here!
To learn more about the V&A, click here!
If you’d like to learn more about Ravilious’ time as a war artist click here.
For William Morris & Co.’s website, click here.
This post was written by intern Taylor Steinberg.