The new Furniture Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum features important pieces from the Museum’s existing collection, newly displayed to highlight the expert craftsmanship involved in creating beautiful and innovative furniture.
While most of the furniture at the V&A is organised chronologically, this new gallery arranges the collection according to technique and material. The focus is not on the pieces as important heritage items but rather as fine examples of how furniture is designed and created. The result is a concise, bright, and accessible gallery which, complete with informative touch-screen panels for each exhibit, gives visitors the chance to take a closer look at each individual item and appreciate the thought and craft of furniture-making.
Important designers such as Eileen Gray and Frank Lloyd Wright are given pride of place in the exhibition, and one of my favourite pieces is a highly decorative 1861 neo-gothic cradle by Richard Norman Shaw; the 21st century has its fair share of extravagant baby accessories, but nothing to match this opulent and overbearing piece of Victoriana.
The gallery opens to the public on 1 December and is a free, permanent exhibition.