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Title: Producing and collecting for Empire : African textiles in the V&A 1852-2000
Author: Stylianou, Nicola Stella
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 3136
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2012
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The aim of this project is to examine the African textiles in the Victoria and Albert Museum and how they reflect the historical and cultural relationship between Britain and Africa. As recently as 2009 the V&A’s collecting policy stated ‘Objects are collected from all major artistic traditions … The Museum does not collect historic material from Oceania and Africa south of the Sahara’ (V&A 2012 Appendix 1). Despite this a significant number of Sub-Saharan African textiles have come into the V&A during the museum’s history. The V&A also has a large number of textiles from North Africa, both aspects of the collection are examined. The division between North and Sub-Saharan Africa and between ‘art’ and ‘ethnographic’ museum collections is crucial to understanding the African textiles in the V&A. The V&A began collecting North African textiles in 1852 and went on to build a strong collection, particularly embroideries from the urban areas. The museum also acquired some Sub-Saharan African textiles during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. During the 1920s the Textiles Department began to consider whether textiles from certain areas should be classed as ethnography. This was the most active period for collecting North African embroidery but the same process led to the exclusion and removal of Sub-Saharan African textiles. After World War II the Circulation Department actively collected West African textiles to tour to art colleges. The closure of the Department caused many of these textiles to be de-accessioned. The V&A has also collected textiles produced in Britain for sale in
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Victoria and Albert Museum
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Museum studies ; African studies ; British History ; African History ; Textile Design