The V&A in London has recently re-opened one section of its ceramics galleries. On display are around 3,300 cups, bowls, vases and tiles. Highlights include Ming dynasty Chinese porcelain; Dutch Delftware ordered by Queen Mary for Hampton Court Palace, and a vase painted by Picasso in the 1950s.
Says Reino Liefkes, the head of ceramics and Glass at the V&A: “Ceramics is a beautiful product and its something we grow up with from our earliest age, eating from ceramic plates, drinking from ceramic cups. It is a beautiful clean material and it can be decorated in very many different ways, very colourful, it can be very ostentatious, or very sober, it is very versatile and yet it is made from very simple materials – clay – and then it has this transformation into a very solid pristine object in fire, so that it is quite a magical material as well, I think.” The V&A has also opened a gallery exploring ceramics production, including a re-created pottery studio and a workshop area where visitors can make their very own pieces. Says Reino Liefkes, “One of the main questions that our public asks us is, “How are these ceramics made?” and so we built a whole room explaining the various ceramics techniques of making and decorating and we thought there is no better way in doing it really than to put a workshop right in the gallery.” But this is only phase one of the re-opening of the ceramics galleries. More galleries are set to re-open next year. And the story doesn’t end there – this is all just part of an ambitious plan to remodel the entire building. For more information see: