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Historic Textiles at the V & A

Rated 4.93 out of 5 from 68 reviews.London, United Kingdom

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Experience hosted by Ann

2.5 hours
Up to 10 people
Hosted in English

What you'll do

Discover the history of European needlework.

We will meet in the Grand Entrance foyer of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL. for a guided walking tour around selected galleries of this world-renowned museum, focusing on objects that illustrate the history of European textiles from medieval times to the 20th Century.

We will look at a mixture of hand-made domestic needlework, the works of noble ladies from the 16th to 18th centuries, the hobbies of the Georgian and Victorian middle classes, and a selection of commercially made pieces, and consider the relationship between amateur and professional work over the centuries.

During the tour we will encounter 13th century religious embroidery, a 14th century quilt, Elizabethan and Jacobean whitework, coloured silk embroidery and raised stumpwork, medieval knitting, crewel work, needlepoint and woven tapestries, patchwork, samplers, blackwork, 18th century silk needle painting, woven silk fabrics, 19th century Berlin work and and art needlework.

This is a friendly, chatty stroll through the museum, suitable for enthusiasts and also for anyone who knows nothing of the subject, but just wishes to see some wonderful historic textiles!
Discover the history of European needlework.

We will meet in the Grand Entrance foyer of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL. for a guided walking tour around selected galleries of this world-renowned museum, focusing on objects that illustrate the history of European textiles from medieval times to the 20th Century.

We will look at a mixture of hand-made domestic needlework, the works of noble ladies from the 16th to 18th centuries, the hobbies of the Georgian and Victorian middle classes, and a selection of commercially made pieces, and consider the relat…
From $24
/ person
Thu, Jul 16
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
$24 per person
$24 per person
Thu, Jul 23
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
$24 per person
$24 per person
Availability for this experience is rare.

Meet your host, Ann

Host on Airbnb since 2015
  • 68 Reviews
  • Identity verified
Discover the hidden textile gems of the wonderful (and vast) Victoria & Albert Museum with an experienced antique textile trader. With over 25 years experience in selling antique textiles (in London’s famous Portobello Road market and many other venues, both in the U.K and abroad) and giving talks on the subject, I am looking forward to sharing my passion for the subject with you, as we journey through the centuries in this historic venue.

I also host this experience - 'Antique Lace Tour and Tea Party'
https://www.airbnb.com/antiquelace
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Where you'll be

The Victoria and Albert Museum is a world-class museum for textiles and the largest museum in the world dedicated solely to the decorative arts, with 145 galleries on its 12 acre site. It houses many outstanding European textiles, as well as beautiful textiles from many other cultures. In this short tour we will be mainly looking at European objects, but I highly recommend visitors also drop into some of the other galleries if they have time!

Rated 4.93 out of 5 from 68 reviews.

Irena
March 2020
I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Ann learning about historical textiles in the wonderful setting of V&A museum. The tour was well structured and paced, and covered the objects from Early Medieval age to the beginning of the 20th century. We looked at some superb exhibits in the museum, with Ann explaining their significance and the stories behind them. She also shared her personal collection of vintage textiles and laces - it was wonderful to be able to touch and experience the fabrics, similar to those that we just saw exhibited. Very enjoyable and educational experience for everyone with interest in textiles and costume history.
I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Ann learning about historical textiles in the wonderful setting of V&A museum. The tour was well structured and paced, and covered the objec…
Jennifer
March 2020
If you are interested in design and textiles Ann is the woman for you! She is very knowledgeable and has an infectious enthusiasm for her subject. Highly recommended!
Cynthia
February 2020
I had a great time with Ann, exploring some of the wonderful textiles and history at the V&A. She loves the subject and it shows. So many insights and interesting facts. She shared some of her personal favourites. I would look for another tour with Ann the next time I come to the V&A.
I had a great time with Ann, exploring some of the wonderful textiles and history at the V&A. She loves the subject and it shows. So many insights and interesting facts. She shared…
Sam
February 2020
The textile tour was very informative and Ann’s breadth of knowledge brought processes to life. Ann is finishing her Masters in the field of knowledge so you are able to ask questions and get a multi-dimensional answer as to why things were done the way they were. Very enjoyable tour.
The textile tour was very informative and Ann’s breadth of knowledge brought processes to life. Ann is finishing her Masters in the field of knowledge so you are able to ask quest…
Kirsten(Yukun)
January 2020
Very interesting tour. Ann is quite knowledgable on the topic, and showed us a great deal about living stories behind the art works. Definitely recommended.
Anais
December 2019
Ann's tour was absolutely fabulous!! Her knowledge and experience are simply fantastic, and the order and sequence of the tour is very well thought out. It flowed really well, making sense of a lot of exhibits which, while gorgeous, would have probably felt a bit overwhelming to go through on my own. She is very nice, and the whole tour felt like a chat with a friend. We went quite a bit over-time, but she never made us feel rushed, and she was able to recommend several other areas of the museum she thought we would enjoy (including some specific books on dressmaking in the museum shop!). I took the tour with a friend who has no specific interest in textiles, and she thought it was fabulous as well, so we thorougly recommend this experience to anyone regardless of your level of knowledge.
Ann's tour was absolutely fabulous!! Her knowledge and experience are simply fantastic, and the order and sequence of the tour is very well thought out. It flowed really well, maki…

Choose from available dates

2 available
  • Thu, Jul 16
    1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
    $24 per person
  • Thu, Jul 23
    1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
    $24 per person

Things to know

Cancellation policy

Any experience can be canceled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase, or at least 7 days before the experience starts.

Guest requirements

Up to 10 guests ages 16 and up can attend.

More tips

Entrance to the Victoria & Albert Museum is free, so there is no need to purchase museum tickets in order to attend this experience.