Victoria and Albert Museum. Pediment detail.

British Art Collections – Day 1 V&A

  • Wednesday 24 May 2023
  • Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD
  • Lecturer: Dr Justine Hopkins

During the summer of 2023 we are offering a series of linked but separate study days on British Art Collections. Each day can be booked individually. We also intend to include some small group visits to individual galleries. These will be organised separately and subject to demand.

This series will examine the history of some of the UK’s greatest art institutions: what or who inspired their foundation, where their collections came from and how their buildings were designed. What audiences did the founders imagine and what ideas were they trying to impart – and how have those audiences and ideas changed through the years and for the modern era? Explore artworks and exhibitions, meet the personalities and discover the stories behind the façades of the nation’s collections from London to Edinburgh and from Liverpool to Cambridge.

Programme for Day 1

V&A Museum, London

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is the largest museum of art and design anywhere in the world and one of the most popular visitor destinations, locally, nationally and globally. From its beginnings in the nineteenth century it has challenged preconceptions and set standards for what museums should be and achieve; constantly controversial, it has never been ashamed to provoke scholarly debate or court popular favour, an attitude which continues to this day.


1   A book that is always open: making a museum in Brompton

2   Full of marvellous treasures: the V&A enters the twentieth century

3   Collections in search of a home: V&A outreach in Bethnal Green and Covent Garden

4   FuturePlan, future proof? The V&A today and tomorrow


 Dr Justine Hopkins is a freelance writer and lecturer in Art History, specialising in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with an MA from the Courtauld Institute and a PhD from Birkbeck College. She is a Visiting Lecturer at the V&A and has worked for the Tate, the National Gallery and the Arts Society. She has written a biography of painter and sculptor Michael Ayrton, published in 1994, and a new book, Ideas, Images, Reflections: Michael Ayrton, to mark his centenary in 2021.

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