Indepth Arts News: |
"Inventing New Britain: The Victorian Vision 5"
2001-04-29 until 2001-07-29
Victoria and Albert Museum
The way the Victorians shaped our lives is the theme of the V&A’s major spring exhibition, Inventing
New Britain: The Victorian Vision. To commemorate the centenary of Queen Victoria’s 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.
The exhibition is divided into five sections:
Royalty – the role of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as leaders of taste and social change.
Society – challenging views about work, children, sex and death.
Nature – changing attitudes to animals and evolution through encounters with new cultures: the
influence on art, design and gardening.
The World – expansion, trade and empire.
New Technology – the new possibilities of railways, steamships, telegraph and electricity.
A major publication, The Victorian Vision: Inventing New Britain, will accompany the exhibition, edited
by Professor John Mackenzie. Two further books, Victorians at Home and Abroad by Paul Atterbury
and Suzanne Fagence Cooper and The Victorian Woman by Suzanne Fagence Cooper, will also be