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Victoria and Albert Museum: 19th Century Britain

The 19th century Victorian era was a time for change and transformation in Britain. Queen Victoria held the royal office during this time, reigning from June 1837 until her passing in 1901. One of the museums that really captures art, design, and history of this era and many others is the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of Art and Design in London. The museum is named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.


With over 2,000 years of art, the Victoria and Albert Museum has the largest art and design collection in the world. The museum features a variety of collections including, architecture, Asia, books, ceramics, contemporary, design styles, fashion, furniture, jewelry, paintings, photography and much more! The featured collections cover many different artistic time periods and styles. Some of the time periods featured at the museum are, Baroque, Gothic, Modernism, Surrealism and more.

If you love the 19th century Victorian time period, than this is the museum for you to check out. During this era, Britain started to become its own, making great strides politically, socially and financially. Population began to grow, The Great Exhibition of 1851 occurred, manufacturing increased, new modes of transportation became available, and much more. At this point, London became one of the largest cities in the world.

The Victoria and Albert Museum features the art and style that was seen during the 19th century. Let’s look at what life was really like during this time. Men’s fashion changed a great deal during this era. The men typically wore trousers, a coat that was long in the back and short in the front, and a top hat. The women wore bonnets, corsets to show their natural figures, petticoats, and full skirts that had a crinoline cage underneath them.

During the 19th century, theatre became very popular. For leisure and entertainment, many people would go to different forms of performance, such as opera, ballet, circus, and a variety of pantomimes. However, due to the Licensing Act, there were only two theatres in London at the time, Drury Lane and Covent Garden. Since there were only two theatres for people to utilize, this became a problem. People began to form non-patent theatres to increase the entertainment throughout London.

To find out more about the 19th century Victorian era, take a tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of Art and Design in London. If you can’t make it to the museum, watch the new Showtime series, Penny Dreadful. Penny Dreadful is set during this era, allowing you to take a peak into what life was really like during this time!