Furniture Collections and Galleries

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by Glorie
Last updated 6 years ago

Arts & Music
Museums and Galleries

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Furniture Collections and Galleries

This gallery has been designed as part of the V&A’s FuturePlan to transform the Museum through new galleries and redisplay its collections. The Furniture collection consists of more than 14,000 pieces from Britain, Europe and America, dating from the Middle Ages to the present day. It is predominantly of furniture, but also includes related objects such as architectural and decorative woodwork, musical instruments, leatherwork, clocks. The collection also includes complete rooms, some of which are on display in the newly refurbished British Galleries.The Dr Susan Weber Gallery, named after the founder of the Bard Graduate Center in New York, is the first ever V&A gallery dedicated to furniture and contains over 200 pieces demonstrating a range of materials and techniques, from joinery and gilding to upholstery and digital manufacturing.

Furniture collections and galleries

The architects chose not to provide explanatory captions for each piece in order to bring viewers closer to the objects. Instead, touch screen panels have been placed around the gallery to provide information.

One of the newest pieces on display is Wooden Heap, a drawer unit designed by Boris Dennler and acquired as part of this year’s Design Fund to Benefit the V&A.

The objects are arranged thematically rather than by period or place – for instance, an Art Deco lacquer screen is presented alongside an example of the 16th century Japanese lacquer work that inspired it.

Thomas ChippendalePeter Holmes, furniture conservator, discusses a Thomas Chippendale style chair

Key furniture designers and makers are represented in the furniture collections at the V&A.

Peter Holmes, furniture conservator, discusses a Thomas Chippendale style chair

Frank Lloyd Wright

Audio description of the Furniture Gallery's Frank Lloyd Wright display

George Brookshaw

One of the V&A's greatest treasures

The Great Bed of Ware is probably the single best-known object in the Museum. The four-poster bed is famously over three metres wide, the only known example of a bed of this size, and reputedly able to accommodate at least four couples.Constructed in about 1590, the Bed was probably made as a tourist attraction for an inn in Ware, Hertfordshire. Ware was a day's journey from London and a convenient place to stop for the night for travellers going to Cambridge University or other destinations. Visitors often carved their initials on the Bed or applied red wax seals , which are still visible on the bedposts and headboard today.

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