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"Inventing New Britain: The Victorian Vision"
2001-04-05 until 2001-07-29
Victoria and Albert Museum
London, , UK

When did football become a national sport. When were the first royal family photographs published. Why did the seaside become a much-loved location for holidays. When were heated curling tongs invented. Who designed the first submarine. Where did the idea of free education spring from. The way the Victorians shaped our lives is the theme of the V&As major spring exhibition, Inventing New Britain: The Victorian Vision. To commemorate the centenary of Queen Victorias death, the exhibition will show how a modern Britain emerged during the Queen’s powerful reign (1837-1901). It will examine technology, art, society, nature and imperialism.

The exhibition will challenge perceptions of the Victorians. Paul Atterbury, curator of the exhibition, says: “The world of the Victorians relates to our world far more than most people imagine. Many of our modern-day ideas about holidays, sexuality, entertainment, sport, leisure, science and technology are Victorian in origin.”

“Above all, the displays will show the Victorians as they saw themselves – powerful, creative, a confident industrial nation at the heart of the greatest empire seen in 1,000 years.” Theirs was a nation of great innovators, explorers and social reformers, such as I.K. Brunel, Florence Nightingale, David Livingstone and Charles Darwin. The displays will provide a new perspective on the wonders of the Victorian achievement, bringing together technological inventions, paintings, sculpture, film and treasures of the empire including jewellery and African and Oriental art.

Imaginatively designed by John Outram, designer of the V&A’s successful Pugin exhibition, the Victorians exhibition will reflect the confidence and excitement of the Victorian world which was an age of adventure, expansion, discovery and progress.


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