Sunday, May 20, 2012

China Blue at the V&A

One of my fondest places on earth is the Victoria and Albert Museum, whose founding principle was to make works of art available to all, to educate working people and to inspire British designers and manufacturers, and this 'schoolroom for everyone' continues to uphold this goal to this day.  In the study galleries, the wealth and diversity of the V&A's collection is on display, rather than hidden in a storeroom.

In the Ceramics Study Collections, the galleries hold a huge portion of the V&A's collection of ceramics from all over the world, displayed in glass cases that rise from floor to ceiling.  The pieces are displayed as such that you can see the tops and bottoms, and front and backs of most objects, allowing you to see the marks of the potteries or potters who made the pieces.

The pieces are often grouped together by colour and type of object, and organised by geographical region and date.  This wonderful collection makes it easy to see the many variations of one object, from tea cup to jug to sauce boat to sugar bowl.  I adore the manner the V&A shows these objects, and today I am sharing a selection of their blue wares.

Wedgwood Jasperware cameos, medallions and snuff bottles.

This large bowl with a ship painted inside had to be photographed from top and bottom to see the extent of the detail within.

Finally, the work of V&A artist in residence Clare Twomey, whose piece, Trophy, was originally made up of 4000 blue birds made of Wedgwood Jasperware (a stoneware stained with cobalt oxide).  The piece was displayed at the V&A for just one day in September 2006, and visitors were invited to take a bird as a gift.  The birds you see below are the twenty that remain of the four thousand. 

1 comment:

  1. The birds are so lovely. I imagine how happy the people were to receive a bird as a small gift. It was an efficient contribution to the place.
    So pleased to read your blog Oscar from