The Victoria and Albert Museum has today (16th November) opened its new Gilbert Galleries, filled with over 500 highlights from one of the most important collections of decorative art ever given to the nation.
All four rooms of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries have been updated and feature numerous objects collected by 20th century collectors Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert, which includes European silver and gold plate, delicate gold boxes, Italian mosaics and enamel portrait miniatures.
The objects, many of which date back to the 15th century up until the 20th century, were carefully removed from the galleries back in 2014 to enable construction work for the V&A’s Exhibition Road building project.
The Gilbert Galleries reopen with a number of masterpieces on display for the first time as well as pieces owned by figures including King Charles I, Frederick the Great, Louis XV, Catherine the Great and Enrico Caruso.
Some of the highlights include: alife-size silver swan made by Asprey, a 17th-century Peruvian gold bowl recovered from a shipwreck off the coast of Florida and exquisite 18th-century silver.
Dr Heike Zech, Senior Curator, V&A said: “The newly opened Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries allow visitors to come face-to-face with dazzling masterpieces in gold and silver, as well as portrait miniatures and mosaics. There is something for everyone to enjoy. Because the collection reflects the taste of this eclectic collector-couple, the galleries provoke unique juxtapositions of materials, dates and object types that are as inspiring and thought-provoking as they are beautiful.”
While the galleries were closed, the public’s access to the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection was ensured with temporary exhibitions of gold boxes opened in Cambridge and Los Angeles, while silver from the collection travelled to Hong Kong and Schwäbisch Hall in Germany. A number of objects remain on long term loan to National Trust houses in North Wales, Cheshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries are open daily, with entry to the galleries free to visitors. For more information visit: https://www.vam.ac.uk/