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The new 17th­- and 18th-century European Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum open this month. The lead curator Lesley Miller explains the hard decisions involved in making displays.

Why did the European Galleries need to be refurbished? How are the spaces different now?

The galleries were last refurbished in 1972 and in the intervening 40 years they had fallen below the standard you would expect, both curatorially and in terms of access. In the 1970s, they did a big build within the space and brought the ceilings down (some of that was to make space for air conditioning) and blocked out the windows.

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Four hundred objects go on public display for the first time in the newly refurbished Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. More than 550 items dating from the sixth century to today are on show, including 30 new acquisitions.

The gallery initially opened in 1986, and houses works from the V&A’s collection of Japanese art and design which was founded in the 19th century.

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Harold Koda, the curator in charge of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has announced his retirement. WWD reported on Tuesday that he plans to enter retirement early next year. 

"If there's anything, my greatest acquisition has been getting Andrew Bolton from the [Victoria and Albert Museum] and putting together all of these incredible things that people don't see. But they are as important than the more visible aspects of our department," Koda told the trade publication. He, Bolton and their 30-person team are currently working hard on the institution's upcoming Jacqueline de Ribes exhibition.

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It has been one of the more intriguing art historical mysteries for more than a century: did the great pre-Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rossetti touch up a Botticelli painting he owned by giving the sitter a vibrant red rinse?

On Thursday, curators at the Victoria and Albert Museum gave the definitive answer – the red hair of the 15th-century woman known as Smerelda Bandinelli is her own and the supposed Rossetti intervention can finally be laid to rest as a myth.

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The Victoria and Albert Museum in London announced that its Europe 1600–1815 galleries would finally open on December 9 following a £12.5m restoration, with £4.75m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project has been delayed due to a “complicated build”, according to a museum spokesman.

The new display of over 1,100 artefacts, from the museum’s collection of 17th- and 18th-century European art and design, will be complemented by a new commission from Cuban artists Los Carpinteros.

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A completely refurbished Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art is slated to reopen at the V&A this November as part of the museum’s ongoing “FuturePlan” scheme to provide its collections with updated, contemporary settings.

First inaugurated in December 1986, the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art was the first significant gallery in the UK devoted to Japan. Come November, the refurbished gallery will show some 550 pieces with a newly conceived curatorial framework, led by the V&A’s senior curator of Japan Rupert Faulkner.

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Still haven't found the time to see Alexander McQueen's “Savage Beauty" exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum? Fear not: the popular London museum has announced that it will remain open all night during the exhibition's two final weekends.

The museum has also released a further 12,000 tickets, as all the pre-bookable tickets have sold out.

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There is a widespread assumption that plastic is among the hardiest of materials, but that is far from true, as conservators in museums and galleries know only too well.

The Victoria & Albert Museum is now collaborating with Imperial College and University College London to find ways of saving 20th-century works of art and design featuring plastics, including polyester and polyurethane.

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What is luxury? A watch, a couture dress, a crown? Or is it having control over space, time, privacy? Is the notion of luxury changing over time?

A new exhibition, organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London together with the Crafts Council, asks these very questions. (In fact, it’s called What Is Luxury?) The works showcased help illuminate the way we use and perceive luxury today, and how that might change in the future.

“We realized when we started researching the project that on the one hand, everyone has a relationship to luxury and its own definition of it,” says Leanne Wierzba, V&A/Winchester School of Art research fellow and co-curator of the show.

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One of the world’s finest collections of Japanese cloisonné enamels went on display at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin on March 14, 2015. The collection, on loan from the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, provides an insight into one of Japan’s most exquisite art forms. "Seven Treasures: Japanese Cloisonné Enamels from the Victoria and Albert Museum," London is free to the public and continues at the Library until June 14, 2015.

Cloisonné enamels were among Japan’s most successful exports in the late 19th century, reaching a peak of artistic and technological sophistication between 1880 and 1910, a period referred to as the ‘Golden Age’. This exhibition showcases over one hundred enamels, almost 90 of which were donated from the collection of Mr Edwin Davies CBE, with the others from the V&A’s historical collection which dates from the Paris International Exposition of 1867.

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