Nasty, Brutish, and Short
On Thursday December 8th, our class toured the 18th century collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum under the expert guidance of docent Anne Haworth. The V&A is a large and eclectic museum of art and design founded in 1852. It contains a 5,000 year span of art and artifacts originating from all around the world. Our particular focus was on the British galleries that chronicle the history of Britain from 1500 to 1900 through the lens of the objects that shaped and were shaped by British culture.
Anne shared her extensive knowledge of historical ceramics to illustrate how the cultural and technological revolutions of the 18th century influenced the design, manufacture and availability of pottery. The main narrative of the tour was the story of Josiah Wedgwood and his wildly successful application of scientific and industrial methods to the production and sale of pottery. It was a very detailed and specific example of how the principles and aesthetics of the Enlightenment were applied to the mass production of new kinds of goods that led to Britain’s growth as a manufacturing and commercial empire.
Reporter: Ethan Fitz