Book of the Month December 2022: Enriching the V&A

December's Book of the Month is chosen by our Head of Editorial, Design and Production, Sarah Thorowgood... Enriching the V&A by Julius Bryant is the first book to focus on the V&A’s collections from the viewpoint of private collectors, lenders and donors. 
Use the code MONTH20 at checkout to get 20% off during December.

"The image repro stage in the life of a book’s production is always exciting: it’s usually the first time that I get to see the page layouts of the books we work on printed out at full size and in high resolution detail as colour Epsom proofs. There’s a sudden leap that happens at this point just before the book goes to press where you feel the book jump from concept to physical object. It’s tantalisingly close to being the printed and bound thing that you can hold in your hand at the end of the process! This was especially the case when working on the glorious treasure trove that is Enriching the V&A. The book’s 160 images were all so expertly photographed by the Museum and it was a great opportunity to collaborate with V&A Publishing’s production team who know the objects in the collection so well and are able to give such detailed advice to our repro team in order to colour correct images and get the printed reproductions just right."

– Sarah Thorowgood, Head of Editorial, Design and Production, Lund Humphries


About the Book:

By 1862, just a decade after its launch as a study collection for art and design, the Victoria and Albert Museum had become a reference resource for collectors, scholars and art-market experts. Enriching the V&A, the final volume in a trilogy of books on the museum’s 19th-century history, describes how the young museum’s rapid growth in the following decades was driven more by collectors, agents and dealers, through loans, gifts and bequests, than by the combined expertise, acquisitions policies and buying power of its directors and curators.

The V&A soon became a collection of collections, embodying a new age of collecting that benefitted from the break-up of historic institutions and ancestral collections across Europe, and imperial expeditions in Asia and Africa. The industrial revolution had created a new social class with the resources to buy from the expanding art market, especially in the decorative arts. Many were touched by a new moral imperative to collect for the home, however humble, and to share their specialist knowledge and enthusiasm by lending to the new public museums.

Enriching the V&A explores the formative influence on the museum, and on pioneering fields of scholarship, of the V&A’s leading Victorian and Edwardian benefactors. It also shares uncomfortable truths about the sources of some objects from the age of empires and shows how the meanings of things can change through the transformation of private property into public museum collections.

Find out more HERE.