Did you know The V&A was the first museum in the world to start collecting photographs as art from 1856?
Throughout history fashion photographers have continually pushed boundaries, and the tension between artistic and commercial demands has generated great creativity across the decades. The V&A’s collection of fashion images reflect popular culture, world events and the dramatic shifts in women’s roles throughout the 20th century.
Published in collaboration with the V&A, explore our collection of John French’s (1907-1966) fashion photography. Originally trained as a commercial artist, French went on to set up his own photographic studio in 1948 and devoted much attention to the set and posing of his models. Using natural light and low contrast, French pioneered a new form of haute-couture photography, perfectly suited for reproduction in newsprint. These images from the fifties and sixties evoke an era of growing dynamism of the model's behaviour and technology. Explore this collection to bring a touch of elegance and class to your interior. For more fabulous fashion prints, read our article about six photographs featuring Christian Dior gowns, inspired by the V&A’s 2019 Dior exhibition.
The V&A’s South Asia collection contains over 60,000 pieces in its archives. In special collaboration with the museum, we have hand-picked a selection of 33 prints to form an Indian collection that pays homage to depictions of everyday Indian life and culture, festival scenes, deities architecture and courtesans. All were painted between the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
The V&A has been collecting Japanese artefacts since it was founded and holds one of the world's most comprehensive collections, including ceramics, paintings, textiles, armour, dress and sculptures.
A highlight of the collection features original woodblock paintings created by Ukiyo-e artists. This translates as ‘the floating world’ referring to the promiscuous society of theatre actors and courtesans whose style was the subject of fascination during the Edo period (1603 to 1868). Inexpensive woodblock paintings of these style icons and folktales were produced is high volumes and made art accessible to all.
The most famous piece from the Japanese collection is Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa and Red Fuji: South Wind, Clear Dawn from a series of prints called the Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. During the time Hokusai was painting, leisure pursuits like travel were on the rise so prints of landscapes became popular souvenirs and decoration in the home.
Explore the V&A’s Japanese collection if you are looking to add a decorative addition to your home which celebrates the beauty of oriental heritage and nature.
This collection of quaint illustrations is rich in social history. Our collection includes prints by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins who created detailed studies of nature during the nineteenth century. We also have an exquisite collection of early twentieth century shop fronts, originally published in a children’s companion by illustrator, Eric Ravilious. Reminiscent of by-gone days, these prints look at home in traditional interiors, often propped on a mantlepiece or as a homely kitchen accessory.
King & McGaw is proud to maintain a long-established relationship with the V&A, faithfully reproducing not only prints but also publishing printed product for their Museum shops.