A chain of galleries spanning the museum’s sixth floor was opened in late 2009 to allow natural light to pour in, revealing displays designed to let the V&A’s unrivalled collection breathe and individual treasures shine. In the central gallery a ceramic timeline starts with a remarkable Japanese pot dating from 3,500 BC, and further highlights include Ming dynasty Chinese porcelain and a vase painted by Picasso. There’s a room devoted to factory-made twentieth-century work by Susie Cooper and Clarice Cliff among others, another exploring handmade ceramics by Bernard Leach and more recent twentieth-century potters, plus space for temporary shows, currently devoted to eighteenth-century French porcelain. Adding a touch of high drama to the domed gallery that will host a changing display of work by contemporary artists is a site-specific installation, ‘Signs and Wonders’ by Edmund de Waal (look up, or you’ll miss it). In a large gallery devoted to the processes involved in making ceramics, a hands-on area explains the basics of moulding, firing and decorating pots, and individual case studies provide more depth. The gallery also boasts its own ceramics workshop, complete with potter’s wheels and kiln, and contains a reconstruction of a corner of the studio of the influential twentieth-century potter Lucie Rie.
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu, Sat, Sun 10am-5.45pm; Fri 10am-10pm|
|Transport:||Tube: South Kensington|
|Price:||Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions|