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V&A Museum – Exploring the Collections as the ‘Workshop of the World’ 4 dates from 24th January 2019

January 24



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Exploring the Collections as the ‘Workshop of the World’:The Decorative Arts during the Age of Industry (a repeat of the course run in January 2018)

This course will be held weekly on Thursdays, 24th January, 31st January, 7th February and 14th February 2019

The collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum are extensive and far ranging with objects, ideas and exhibitions that feed into almost every aspect of our guiding and visiting lives.  It was awarded ‘Museum of the Year’ in 2016 and it not only has a fantastic permanent collection, but it also hosts ground-breaking exhibitions and is more and more popular with visitors to London….never has there been a better time to further our knowledge of this great museum!

As a continuation on from the success of the last 4 courses exploring the collections at the V&A, this 4 week course will delve deeper and explore in detail the impact the Industrial Revolution had on the Decorative Arts in Britain. This is the era that saw Robert Adam, Thomas Chippendale, Josiah Wedgwood and Augustus Pugin to name but a few.

Beginning in 1760 with the accession of George III and culminating in the Great Exhibition in 1851, this period of history saw the development of Britain into a nation of manufacturers.

As King George III said in his first address to Parliament in 1760 ‘born and educated in this country I glory in the name of Briton’…..so too shall we!

Feed back from 2018:

Thank you both for an outstanding course which I would do all over again if I could.

Your knowledge is amazing and your enthusiasm very engaging.  Each day was exciting and so full of wonderful information that I went home with my head buzzing.   I will certainly recommend this extended CPD to others and hope that the Guild will run it again as soon as possible, for those who missed out.

This 4 day-long course, spread over 4 weeks will give you;

  • A comprehensive overview of the development of the Decorative Arts of the 18th & 19thc, with a distinct British slant.
  • A deeper understanding of the meaning of some of the artistic terminology such as Neo-Classical, Victorian Gothic, Historical Revivalism, through the exploration of the major themed galleries and with continuous reference to the objects.
  • A suggested way of viewing, interpreting and explaining objects to the public.
  • Key information, aide memoires and object lists.

The lead guide on this course will be BBG Anna Warrillow who was a curator in the Sculpture department of the V&A for 6 years.  Alongside her will be a guest lecturer who has particular knowledge/experience in specialist areas.  This will be fellow BBG and NADFAS lecturer Caroline MacDonald-Haig.

The themes/galleries we will be exploring are as follows:

  • Week 1: British Galleries – 1760-1900 from Neo Classicism to Neo Gothic and early 20thC.   – Explore the 18th &19th C delights of the of the British Galleries  from Vasemania to Victorian Gothic!
  • Week 2: Paintings at the V&A – The Paintings collections at the V&A are superb.  The collections of British Oil painting dates back to 1867 when John Sheepshank gave the Museum over 200 oil paintings and 300 watercolours by contemporary artists.  This gift led to others and in 1888 John Constable’s paintings, sketches and watercolours were presented to the Museum by the artist’s daughter.  We will explore this extraordinary collection in great detail!!
  • Week 3: Ceramics & Glass – During the 18th & 19th centuries, thanks largely to advances in technology and machinery, glass and ceramic workers produced some of the finest and most desirable objects!  This is the era of cut-glass lead crystal and Josiah Wedgwood.  The V&A houses the largest collection of ceramics in the world which occupies the whole of the upper floor – we’ll help you navigate your way!
  • Week 4: Exploring the V&A Story – a walk through the history of the Building. – The History of the V&A is like no other Museum.  From its foundation in 1852 to the Cromwell Road Entrance, for which Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1899, the building is a perfect expression of Victoriana!  We shall look at The Grand Entrance, The John Madjeski Garden (the original entrance on the North side), the Refreshment Rooms and the South Court as well as taking a walk through ‘Albertopolis.’: from the Albert Memorial to the brand new entrance on Exhibition Road which gives us a splendid view of the original Science & Art School building opened in 1852.  Have your walking boots ready!

Format of the Day

The day will fall into 2 parts.  In the morning there will be 2 lectures and in the afternoon there will be a practical session in the galleries at the V&A.  The lectures will be an historic overview of the artistic development of the subject, whilst the afternoon will be guided educational sessions in the galleries.

The daily schedule would look like this:

10-12.15:  Lectures at the British Guild of Tourist Guides, Borough High Street.

12.15-13.30:  Lunch

14.00-16.00: Gallery visit with practical sessions and guided tour (break included)

16.00:  Day finishes.

Practical information:

The Course will run for a duration of 4 weeks on a THURSDAY.  Starting on THURSDAY 24th JANUARY 2019

Reasonable changes due to gallery availability may be made during the course.

Places Available:  32 (PLEASE NOTE: If we have fewer than 27 participants the course may not go ahead and you will be advised of this nearer the date)

Cost £235 (once booked places are non-refundable)



January 24
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Guild House
52d Borough High St
London, SE1 1XN United Kingdom
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