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Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Wonders of Porcelain

A.S. Byatt on the newly restored ceramics galleries at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

"There will be both education and fun for children and grown-ups. The Timothy Sainsbury Gallery explores the making of pots. It has specially commissioned film footage and photography of potters at work. There is a part reconstruction of the studio of that great potter Lucie Rie. There is, as there should be, a workshop with wheels and a kiln where visitors can throw, decorate and fire their own pots. Another thing I learned in my research is how essential touch is to understanding, or "seeing" a pot. You need to know the feel of the clay on the wheel turning and rising. You need to know also the feel of a bowl or a jar in the hands – I was allowed to hold an Italian majolica dish, and the eggshell lightness of it changed the idea of it in my mind."

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Ceramics at the V&A
The V&A houses the greatest and most comprehensive collection of Ceramics in the world. For the first time in 100 years, we are redisplaying this vast collection which spans from 3500 BC to the present day. The collection is particularly rich in Ceramics from Asia,the Middle East and Europe.
Following a four-year long refurbishment the first phase is now completed. Rooms 140 to 145 offer a comprehensive introduction to the world of ceramics, featuring about 3,000 of the museum's finest pieces. The remaining rooms (due to open in summer 2010) will display the remainder of the collection - around 26,000 pieces - as a study resource

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The following is the V&A Ceramics galleries in their original splendour, 1875