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Displaying items by tag: dr. susan weber gallery

For over one hundred and fifty years the V & A has been collecting furniture and displaying it alongside the other decorative arts in its major galleries, but until now it has never had a gallery focussed solely on furniture and how it was made.2 Moreover, the Dr. Susan Weber Gallery (Fig. 1), which opened in December 2012, is the only dedicated gallery in the world to show a comprehensive display of Western furniture from the Middle Ages to the present day. Like the V & A itself, the new gallery is intended to be a resource for designers and makers, conservators and restorers, students and collectors, but is also for anyone with a curiosity about furniture or a desire to understand how things are made.

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The Dr. Susan Weber Gallery is now open at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Designed by the Scottish firm NORD architecture, the gallery houses the museum’s expansive furniture collection that was once relegated to occasional displays and temporary exhibitions.

The museum’s collection spans more than five centuries and features over 200 pieces of British and European furniture as well as guest pieces from America and Asia. The V & A’s holdings are varied and include classic works by historic names like Thomas Chippendale and George Bullock as well as modern and contemporary pieces. Special attention is paid to the process of furniture making and the gallery’s display emphasizes the materials and techniques responsible for each masterpiece. The vast collection allows patrons to see how such things as joinery, turning, carving, veneering, marquetry, and upholstery have changed over the years.

Highlights on view include a 17th-century scagliola table, Patrick Jouin’s “One Shot” folding stool, which is the earliest example of contemporary digitial manufacturing, a painted Tyrolean cupboard from 1776, and a 15th-century desk-cupboard made from oak that was sources from 1,500 miles away. The new gallery also features touch-screen interfaces, short films that explain fundamental techniques, and audio commentary by furniture-makers and historians.

The gallery was funded by and named after Dr. Susan Weber, a graduate of London’s Royal College of Art. Since 1991, Weber has served as the founder and director of Bard College’s Graduate Center for studies in the decorative arts, design, and culture in upstate New York.

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