Oceania: Australian

Victoria and Albert Museum


Much of the Australian material in the V&A is contemporary. The museum has recently acquired a few Australian prints by Aboriginal artists. They include one by Peter Narbarlambarl (1999) on temporary display May - November 2006, and Susie Bootja Bootja (2002). They also have three prints c. 2000 by aboriginal artists from the Torres Strait Islands, Dennis Nona, Billy Missi and David Bosun.

The museum also holds a small group of other prints in the collection by White Australian artists which were acquired at the time of a display of Contemporary Australian Prints in the 1970s. Visitors however are advised to arm themselves with the names of artists whos work they might wish to see.

The prints and drawings department includes a number of works by Charles Conder - who lived in Australia for 15 years towards the end of the 19th century. A suburb of Canberra is still named after him.

The photography collection contains some early photographs of Australia, taken in Beechworth by Algernon Hall, 1866. The museum also has a number of other 19th century topographical albums showing Australia and New Zealand. The museum's modern photographs include pictures by Australian photographer Lewis Morley, famous for the iconic sixties photograph of Christine Keeler.

All of this original material can be seen by ordering it in the Prints Study Room open 10 - 5, Tues. - Sat. The room is open to all without an appointment - take a lift to the fifth floor to find it.

Much material was collected by the V&A before the independence of Australia at the turn of the 20th century. So earlier Australia-produced material has not been catalogued as such - there may be far more Australian material in the museum than the curators can quantify without in-depth research.

Lewis Morley talks about taking his iconic picture of Christine Keeler

A few Australian objects, mostly modern design, held by the V&A

Collection Details

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Location: Victoria and Albert Museum

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Cromwell Road, South Kensington

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