Victoria & Albert FuturePlan – Gallery Openings: Medieval & Renaissance Rooms & Part 2 Ceramics Halls Opening Soon

The V&A; will soon open Phase 2 of the Ceramic Galleries, the Ceramic Link Bridge, plus new galleries to re-house their impressive Medieval and Renaissance collections.

The V&A Museum has undergone a major transformation project making it one of London's most modern, fully accessible, exhibition centres. Autumn 2009 will see the opening of the next step in the programme, the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries. Spring 2010 will see the opening of Phase 2 of the Ceramics Galleries project.

Medieval and Renaissance Galleries

The new Medieval and Renaissance exhibition area will consist of ten galleries spanning the east wing of the museum. These will be arranged chronologically from 300 to 1600 AD.

This is a large-scale operation, the likes of which have never been attempted before. Hundreds of items must be moved from existing galleries and storage areas. Entire tombs will be moved to the new exhibition area along with busts, fountains and monuments. Many of the items were put into storage long ago because of a shortage of display space.

Highlights of the new galleries will include:

  • An oak staircase from a timber-framed house originally located in the French town of Morlaix, Brittany, dating from approximately 1525,
  • The façade of Sir Paul Pindar's House. The building, which survived the Great Fire in 1666, was originally located in Bishopsgate in the City of London. Pindar, a wealthy merchant, built his fortune on trade between Britain and Venice.
  • Magnificent stained glass windows from Mariawald Abbey near Cologne in Germany. The abbey dates from 1480 and the stained glass was completed by 1539.

Ceramics Link Bridge

Phase 1 of the V&A's ceramics project opened in September 2009. Some of the new exhibition space has been reclaimed from office/storage space, necessitating the provision of a secondary emergency escape route.

The route will take the form of an external covered Link Bridge joining the gallery with the adjacent building. The Link Bridge will be visible from both Cromwell Road and from within the gallery. Therefore, the V&A has chosen a design which highlights contemporary design and building methods.

Ceramics Phase 2

Phase 2 of the Ceramics Galleries will open in 2010. The new halls will house more than 26,000 objects demonstrating the full range of the V&A's world-class ceramic collection. The displays, which will be dramatically different from those of Phase 1, will explore the history of ceramics by culture, country, centre of production, date of production and type of object. The project will also include a new Study Centre where researchers will be able to examine objects from the collection.

The two new galleries will join the recently opened Theatre and Performance Gallery and William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery featuring exquisite designs by Cartier, Fabergé, Lalique, Boucheron, Tiffany and Wolfers.

Further details about new gallery openings, related events and publications, can be obtained from the V&A Museum.