Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Introduction and a bit about the Victoria and Albert Museum

The tension is palpable and excitement looms in the distance; it’s just three weeks until the Gallery’s second instalment of the Great Collections of the World series. Calm and collected is certainly not an apt description of the atmosphere in the administration building, but would you expect anything less? Perfection is the key and no one here would have it any other way. Perth has, once again, been given the opportunity to prove itself as a city worthy of prestigious exhibitions, exhibitions not shown anywhere else in the country.

Now, I know I may sound a little biased, and yes, I do have a vested interest in this exhibition and in the Gallery itself, but I hope my affection for both will translate in this blog and perhaps some of you will find my ramblings insightful or enlightening? Or not? Feedback and comments are always welcome, and if there are any topics of interest you’d like to learn more about, tell me and I’ll set my eager little interns on the case.

Just a snapshot of how I came to be the author of the Princely Treasures blog. My journey began about a year and half ago as one of these elusive “eager little interns”. Having always dreamt of working at the Gallery, I felt as though my seven years of study and a $26,000 HECS debt had finally served its purpose. And that it has, working here, in the marketing department, I love my job, I love my team and wouldn’t change a thing!

Ok, enough gloating… I thought I’d kick things off with the obvious, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Since I’m sure many of you have already perused our newly launched and undoubtedly informative Princely Treasures website, I thought it more appropriate to tell you some interesting facts that you may not already know…

  • It’s original name was the Museum of Manufacturers
  • Queen Victoria really wanted to call the V&A the 'Albert Museum'.
  • The first Director, Sir Henry Cole, described the Museum in 1857 as 'a refuge for destitute collections'. More than a century later Sir Roy Strong called it 'an extremely capacious handbag'.
  • 2.37 million people visited the V&A at South Kensington in 2006, the highest figure ever.
  • The worst scandal in the V&A's history occurred in the 1950s when a member of staff was found to have stolen several hundred objects, including a number of swords which he smuggled out of the Museum down his trouser legs.

The name alone, Victoria and Albert Museum, has the ability to recall an allure of decadence, monarchist significance, which draws our attention to a world seemingly beyond the grasp of many of us mere mortals. This said, the ideals of this far removed period, 1600 – 1800, highlighted by the Princely Treasure exhibition, are also filled with scandal, treachery and all things seductive. The hidden escapades of the royals and elitists aristocrats make for some interesting readings.

I know, for me, many of the items I’ll see in the flesh will only accentuate my desire to find a porcelain tea-set hidden at the back of an old wardrobe. Then I too, can impress and shock one of those fancy historians on Antiques Road Show. Alas, I can only dream. I know I will still find grand enjoyment in the simple pleasure of being surrounded by such precious, intricate and beautiful things, things that contain a rich sense of history and represent a period of time so foreign to the world I live in today.

Till next time... Renae


  1. What an informative and exciting post! thanks and can't wait for the exhibition!

  2. I Can't wait! Thankyou for the insight into the 'behind the scenes'of putting on this amazing exhibtion,you lucky thing :)

  3. anonymous architect4 September 2011 at 21:32

    sounds like a decadent event full of intrigue & historical exploration.... cant wait to see it first hand - thanks for such an informative rendition - see you soon!!