Victoria and Albert Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum, London Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is a major decorative arts and design museum in London, England. The V&A was founded in 1852 following the success of the Great Exhibition of 1851 (London), which included many hand and machine made items from around the globe.

Initially the new museum was known as the Museum of Manufactures and included various, specially purchased items from the Exhibition to form the core of the new collection. The aim of the museum was to provide both suitable educational objects and materials and actual teaching in the applied arts and manufacturing. This function was deliberately selected in order to inspire British manufacturers to produce well designed items to boost the British economy. In 1854 the museum was moved to its present buildings and called the South Kensington Museum. The new museum was opened by Queen Victoria in 1857. In 1879/80 it received a wide array of objects from the dissolved India Museum. In 1899 the museum was re-named (again) the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The museum houses about 4.5 million objects and includes items from prehistory to the present day, and from all over the world. It has large and comprehensive textile, dress and accessories collections (click here). All textile techniques are represented, including carpets, embroideries, lace, printed materials, tapestries and woven forms. Since 2013 the vast majority of the textile collection has been housed at The Clothworkers' Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion, which is located in another part of London.


  • Clothworker’s Centre: Blythe House, 23 Blythe Road, London W14 0QX
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

Source: OWEN-CROCKER, Gale R. (2012). 'London: Victoria and Albert Museum', in: Gale Owen-Crocker, Elizabeth Coatsworth and Maria Hayward (eds.), Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles, c. 450-1450, Brill: Leiden, pp. 342-344.

Museum website (retrieved 12 August 2020)

Source of illustration (retrieved 12 August 2020)


Last modified on Wednesday, 12 August 2020 07:21