Visitors to London’s V & A travel from as far as Cumbria and Lancashire to see antique desks, Arts and Crafts furniture and other outstanding exhibits by renowned names like William Morris and Gillow’s. Now, the museum has announced it is to build spectacular new furniture galleries to display its internationally renowned collection. The new galleries will take visitors on a fascinating trip through the history of furniture making, with interactive displays and exhibits covering 600 years of craftsmanship.
The V & A collection comprises mainly British and European furniture, together with some Asian examples, dating from the Middle Ages to the present day. Of particular interest to visitors from Lancashire are Victorian dining chairs , antique desks and associated furniture made by Gillow’s of Lancaster, as well as other cabinetmakers from the North East. Unfortunately many exhibits, such as a Gillow’s 18th century pedestal antique desk, are currently in storage.
There has long been a need for dedicated new furniture galleries at the V & A, and the closure of the Ceramics Galleries in 2004 provided the opportunity. The galleries, which were purpose-built in 1909 and largely unchanged, are now being refurbished to bring the area up to modern museum standards.
The new galleries will focus as much on the methods, materials and history of the exhibits, as the exhibits themselves. Often, antique dealers in Preston sell Victorian dining chairs and antique desks to match those of the V & A. Now, buyers will be able to see exactly how their furniture was put together – and by whom. The galleries will open in 2012.
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