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collections are various touring exhibitions that change throughout the year. These add a fresh, alternative perspective to the world of art and design, creating a new but just as inspiring visit every time you go.


Current visiting galleries include: • Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts. The show features paintings, photography, textiles and dress, jewellery, jewelled objects, metalwork and furniture reflecting different aspects of royal life. • Undressed: Exploring 350 years of underwear in Fashion. • Shadow Catchers: Camera-less photography. • An exhibition showing 3 centuries of Imperial Chinese robes from the Forbidden City.


The V&A also boasts excellent education and research resources. If ever there were a place to study in such inspiring surroundings, this would be it. Dotted amongst the galleries are informal and comfortable study areas; there to


provide visitors with a space to do some research on nearby computers or to simply sit and be inspired.


Alternatively, if you want to step back in time for a brief period, you can always visit the beautiful National Art Library within the museum. There are strong resources in the documentary material that can be accessed, surrounding fine and decorative arts spanning many periods and countries. There is also an impressive Prints and Books collection, within the home of the curatorial department for the art, craft and design of the book.


Last but not least, let us not forget the gift shop! Once you’ve been inspired by this beautiful museum, you can take a piece of it away with you; perhaps a design book, a beautiful print, some postcards or perhaps a dress inspired by one of the Imperial Chinese robes. Beautiful craft supplies are also available including: ceramic buttons, ribbon and paper crafts, enabling you to take your


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new found source of inspiration and implement it within your own work.


The V&A is an endless source of inspiration and you will continue to discover more each time you visit. The craftsmanship and intricacy that has gone into each and every piece in the V&A’s collections stands as testament to the fact that handmade culture has been embraced all over the world for so many decades.


Images courtesy of David Smith http://www.flickr.com/photos/50672174@N05


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