Hardback176 PagesSize: 270 × 228 mm
146 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781848223493Publication: June 07, 2019
Series: V&A 19th-Century Series

Creating the V&A

Victoria and Albert's Museum (1851–1861)

Julius Bryant


  • Published to coincide with the bicentenary celebrations
    of Victoria and Albert, including a V&A display running between their 200th birthdays (24 May–26 August 2019) and the relaunching of the Jewellery Gallery around the major new acquisition: the coronet designed by Albert for Victoria
  • Uncovers for the first time the formative influences of the royal couple on the creation of the world-renowned museum


Creating the V&A tells the definitive story of the formative years of London’s world-renowned Victoria and Albert Museum and the gathering of its early collections in the decade between the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the death of Prince Albert in 1861.

The story of the V&A’s genesis is often centred on the first director and first curator (Henry Cole and J. C. Robinson), and their competing agendas for design reform and connoisseurship. And yet there is an untold story of how the young royal couple for whom it is named were highly instrumental in the establishment of the museum, as public supporters and large-scale lenders before a permanent collection was in place. The book is also full of fascinating and colourful stories of the strategies deployed to harvest treasures on the market as the young museum sought to fill its rapidly expanding buildings and compete with the British Museum and the Crystal Palace.

For anyone interested in the history of collecting and curating, and for all fans of this legendary London museum, Creating the V&A explains how the foundational collections established parameters which still inform the museum’s collecting policies, role and identity today.

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