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Victoria & Albert Museum

Letters: V&A has 6,000 pieces of glass to install

Installation of new glass gallery postponed for a year

We were very pleased to see the piece on our new Glass Gallery in the last issue. We would perhaps (just) claim a first place among world collections in view of our extraordinarily comprehensive coverage of European and Islamic glass, so much of which is of key documentary importance.

The Collection has recently been enhanced by the acceptance in lieu of tax by HM government of a group of forty-one pieces from the estate of Barry Richards. This group includes a marked Ravenscroft bowl, the enigmatic "S"-marked rummer, and Nuremberg pieces attributed to Schmidt, Schwinger and Killinger.

The Gallery is being designed to attract new audiences of non-specialists. Much greater space will be given to nineteenth- and twentieth-century glass, and, funding permitting, an exciting new multi-media installation. But the specialist will be reassured to know that we fully intend to show more rather than fewer pieces - the legacies of the great curators of the past - W.B. Honey and Robert Charleston in particular - have not been forgotten.

Our designer, Penny Richards of Pringle and Richards, must be congratulated on having achieved such a splendid gallery, mezzanine and all. To her goes the credit of having commissioned the magnificent balustrade by Danny Lane. With over 6,000 fragile objects to instal, however, we have to try your patience for a further year - the Gallery will open next spring.

Oliver Watson

Keeper, Department of Ceramics and Glass

Victoria and Albert Museum

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 29 June 1993