London, England – Victoria and Albert Museum to Open New British Galleries

Sponsored by

London’s world-renowned Victoria and Albert Museum is using £31 million in heritage lottery money to create 15 new galleries, scheduled to open in November, 2001.

The Museum and the galleries will display the most comprehensive and accessible collection of British art and design in the world. Using objects already belonging to the gallery, curators are arranging rooms to tell the story of Britain’s development in the world of art and design over a period of 400 years of its history.

The display will be presented in chronological order, starting with the Tudor period in the 1500’s and continuing into the 1900’s. Objects in the gallery rooms will integrate the style of the period along with who led the taste of the time, what was considered fashionable living, and what was on the leading edge of style at the time.

All aspects of the decorative arts – furniture, textiles, silver, china and objets d’art – will be included in the displays which will be set up to mimic the rooms in which they were used. Some of the objects will be shown for the first time ever.

Famous objects from British history will be included: the Great Bed of Ware, referred to in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Horace Walpole’s cabinet from Strawberry Hill, the first ever English fork (knives and spoons were the preferred method for dealing with food until the invention of the fork), made for the Earl of Rutland in 1632. The fork was discovered under the floorboards at Haddon Hall. Henry VIII’s writing desk and James II’s wedding suit will be on show.

Visitors will be treated to videos showing how the objects displayed in the rooms were actually used and by whom. Historical figures of British history, as well as today’s top designers, will add their views to the narrative.

Deborah Isaac, head of Corporate Communications, stated, “The original purpose of the Victoria and Albert Museum was, and still is, to improve art and design, especially to make good design available to students”. The new galleries can only enhance this purpose.

The Victoria and Albert Museum is located on Cromwell Rd., South Kensington, London.
Phone: (0)20 7942 2000

Fax: (0)20 7942 2266


Open Monday through Sunday from 10:00-17:45, Wednesday late view from 18:30-21:30.
Admission £5, Free for seniors, disabled, students and under 18. Free for all 16:30-17:15.

©2001 by Barbara Ballard. Reproduction of this work in whole or in part, including images, and reproduction in electronic media, without documented permission from the author is prohibited.