The Victoria and Albert Museum is renowned as the world’s largest and leading place for decorative arts and design. It displays some of the original works of art and design from the ancient to the modern and has a rich collection of about 4.5 million rare objects unlike any other museum in the world. The Museum is a regularly visited destination of art lovers and is therefore included in the itineraries of many London walking tour programs. Below are some incredible facts about the Victoria and Albert Museum that you will find interesting.
The Victoria and Albert Museum was founded in the year 1852 and was initially called the Museum of Manufactures. It was renamed the South Kensington Museum after the transfer of the collections was done to its current site. Queen Victoria laid the foundation for the new buildings and the museum was so renamed the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1899. The naming of the museum was done to commemorate Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s patronage of the arts and sciences.
The museum is lavish in its size and is spread across 12.5 acres of land. It consists of 145 galleries that house around 4.5 million objects of decorative arts and design from the ancient to the modern times. Many of these objects are rare and spawn the history of ancient civilizations that once flourished in different parts of the world.
The Victoria and Albert Museum also hosts a public restaurant and is the first museum in the world to have one. Situated in the Gamble room, the idea for this public restaurant came from Henry Cole, the first director of the museum. The restaurant caters to a wide range of cuisines with first, second, and third class menus.
Tippoo’s Tiger is one of the most well known artworks that have been put up on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is a wooden mechanical reconstruction created for Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore in India, and depicts a man being attacked by a tiger. The construction also reproduces the growls and screaming of a tiger.
Beatrix Potter’s Artworks
The Victoria and Albert museum houses a huge collection of artworks made by the children’s author Beatrix Potter. This includes the drawings, correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, etc. Leslie Linder an engineer and ardent collector of Potter’s works donated it to the museum after his death.