Past Friday, we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum (bit of a drive-spent sleeping) in particular interest at looking at its ceramics collection. It was my first time at the V&A and honestly I don’t know why I haven’t been there before. It consists of a vast and most widespread assemblage of ceramics in the world. Some artefacts dating back to 5000 years ago to more current ceramicists such as Grayson Perry, Kate Malone and Edmund de Waal. This collection is especially rich in ceramics from the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
The sixth floor is divided into a range of sections from contemporary ceramics, studio pottery, factory ceramics after 1900, the blue and white British printed ceramics, the study galleries and interestingly, especially for a ceramicist, a maker and someone that likes to know about materials and techniques the curtain foundation gallery where alongside pieces of work, explanation with videos, images and examples as to how they achieved some results. Also in this room there is the residency section where once in a while an artist is invited to work on the spot and its a thriving opportunity to the viewer with behind-the-scenes insights of the process of being an artist or designer.
In addition, I was amazed by the enormous collection of objects at the study galleries, it represents an unrivalled wealth of the V&A ceramics collection, creating an encyclopaedia of the entire history of ceramic production. It is presented in a dramatic, logical, coherent and informative way each being organised by time, culture, country, centre of production, type of ware or technique.
After exploring the ceramics collection quite extensively, I went and roamed around through the V&A and came across this beauty, Hogarth’s Dog, Trump, 1747-1750, mould taken by Chelsea Porcelain Factory from Louis François Roubiliac terracotta sculpture. Porcelain was introduced to Europe from China in the 1500s but it wasn’t until the early 1700s that the european factories managed to produce their own. Beginning with Meissen in Germany, the English would finally crack the recipe. In the 1740s among the very firsts was the Chelsea Porcelain Factory, which swiftly set about, tapping to popular tastes. And this piece is one of the great pieces of early english porcelain.