Medieval and Renaissance Furniture in the Victoria & Albert Museum

As of February 2002

Note.  This article is still in progress, the labels are incomplete, the photo links don't all work, most of the commentary needs to be written etc.  I have to apologize for the photos, but conditions in the museum are not conducive to good photography (and I'm not that good a photographer).  The museum sells very nice photos from their archives for reasonable rates.

London's Victoria & Albert Museum houses one of the world's greatest collections of decorative arts.  The furniture collection is scattered throughout a number of different areas of the museum, although a significant portion of it, sadly, remains in storage.  The greatest number of pieces are housed in the main floor galleries which are organized by region and era.  Other bits of the collection are located in the British Galleries and the European Galleries, while several of the most historically significant pieces are in the Ironwork Gallery.

The English portion of the collection was cataloged in the 1920s with the publication of the Catalog of English Woodwork.  This was partially updated with the publication of Charles Tracy's English Medieval Furniture and Woodwork in 1988.  The non-English portions of the collection have not, to my knowledge, been formally cataloged.  As Tracy points out, and as can be seen from the museum numbers, the collection has hardly been added to since the publication of the original catalog. 

The sections in this article are arranged roughly in chronological order.

Rooms 22, 24: Medieval Europe

Rooms 26, 27: The Late Gothic - 15th/16th Century Northern Europe

Rooms 11, 12, 16, 17, 20: The Italian Renaissance

Rooms 1b, 1c: Sixteenth Century Europe

Room 21: Sixteenth Century Europe

The British Galleries

Rooms 113, 114: Ironwork

Items known to exist, but not displayed

Sources:

Tracy, Charles. English Medieval Furniture and Woodwork. London: Antique Collector's Club, 1988