Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Plan for 'V&A Strand' to Show Hidden Gems

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Plan for 'V&A Strand' to Show Hidden Gems

Article excerpt


THE Victoria and Albert Museum hopes to open a new gallery in Somerset House to let the public see thousands of unseen treasures - including one of the world's most important photography collections.

V&A director Mark Jones revealed to the Evening Standard his ambition to open a new branch of the world's greatest museum of design: a "V&A Strand".

Attractions such as the Courtauld Galleries, the Gilbert Collection, the Hermitage Rooms, the ice rink and summer concerts have made Somerset House one of London's most popular cultural destinations. However, much of the south wing remains largely unused.

Plans to use it as the home for the new Supreme Court have been shelved and trustees now hope to find a cultural use for the wing.

Mr Jones said: "Somerset House is a great historic space in a wonderful location." He said it should be used to the full. Yet more space could be made available if the Evening Standard's long-running campaign for the Inland Revenue to move out of the building succeeds. This would leave the east and west wings free.

Mr Jones said: "The V&A needs more space to display our collections, particularly photography, and Somerset House would be a good place to do that."

The museum's main South Kensington home already displays more than 100,000 objects, including treasures such as the Raphael Cartoons and Canova statues.

In all, it has four million items - one million of which are books of the National Art Library.

However, 350,000 artefacts are photographs which the museum does not have space to show.

The V&A says its photography collection is "one of the most important in the world". Treasures include Frederick Hollyer's 200 portraits of Edwardians such as HG Wells and William Morris, as well as images by Bill Brandt, Alfred Stieglitz, Guy Bourdin and Ilse Bing. …

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