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Photograph - View of packing case and horse-drawn 'van' for transport of Raphael Cartoons from Hampton Court to South Kensington Museum
  • View of packing case and horse-drawn 'van' for transport of Raphael Cartoons from Hampton Court to South Kensington Museum
    Thompson, Charles Thurston, born 1816 - died 1868
  • Enlarge image

View of packing case and horse-drawn 'van' for transport of Raphael Cartoons from Hampton Court to South Kensington Museum

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    South Kensington Museum (photographed)

  • Date:

    1865 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Thompson, Charles Thurston, born 1816 - died 1868 (photographer)
    Spackman, Benjamin L. (Sergeant) (photographer)
    Department of Science and Art of the Committee of Council on Education (commissioned by)
    Royal Engineers (photographers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print

  • Museum number:

    44412

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Photographs and photographers were present from the very beginning of the V&A's history and the Museum has an extensive collection of images from the 1850s through to the present which documents the construction and development of the V&A and the South Kensington site.

Originally collected by the National Art Library as part of a programme to record works of art, architecture and design in the interest of public education, these topographic and architectural views were valued as records and as source material for students of architecture and design. As well as being crucial records of the history of the V&A, and an important element within the National Art Library's visual encyclopaedia, these photographs are also significant artefacts in the history of the art of photography.

Physical description

A mounted albumen print of a cart with open crate. Two men are standing either side of the cart holding ropes.

Place of Origin

South Kensington Museum (photographed)

Date

1865 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Thompson, Charles Thurston, born 1816 - died 1868 (photographer)
Spackman, Benjamin L. (Sergeant) (photographer)
Department of Science and Art of the Committee of Council on Education (commissioned by)
Royal Engineers (photographers)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print

Marks and inscriptions

'May 1865
Another view'
ink, lower mount

library stamp
blindstamp, upper centre mount

Dimensions

Height: 24.4 cm image, Width: 26.6 cm image, Height: 29.5 cm mount, Width: 38.8 cm mount

Object history note

The Raphael Cartoons were commissioned by Pope Leo X in 1515 and are among the greatest treasures of the High Renaissance. Painted by Raphael (1483-1520) and his assistants, they are full-scale designs for tapestries that were made to cover the lower walls of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. The tapestries depict the Acts of St Peter and St Paul, the founders of the early Christian Church.

Between 1516 and 1521, the compositions were woven into tapestries at the workshop of Pieter van Aelst in Brussels, the main centre for tapestry production in Europe.

The cartoons' journey from the Brussels workshop of weaver Pieter van Aelst to the V&A was long and convoluted.
Throughout the sixteenth century, the cartoons were passed around weavers' workshops in Brussels as their popularity grew and various monarchs, such as François I of France and Henry VIII, commissioned sets of tapestries after them. However, some of the later sets were likely to have been made from copies of the cartoons - the originals may have been too damaged by repeated pricking to be used so many times.

In 1623, seven of the ten cartoons, now in Genoa, were purchased by Charles I for £300, and have since remained in Britain. Charles commissioned his own set of tapestries from them, which were woven at the Mortlake tapestry works. After Charles's death, the cartoons were kept, still in strips, in wooden boxes in the Banqueting House at Whitehall. For reasons which are still unclear, Oliver Cromwell did not sell the cartoons. Perhaps, given their modest purchase price, he did not think it worthwhile to sell them. It is also possible that he intended to commission another set of tapestries for himself.

The cartoons returned to the Royal collection after the Restoration, and although the Gobelins factory in Paris tried to buy them, they remained in London. By the end of the seventeenth century, the cartoons, now reassembled, had begun to be appreciated as works of art in their own right. William III set aside space for them in Hampton Court Palace, where they were displayed in frames in a gallery specially designed for them by Sir Christopher Wren. During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the cartoons came to be regarded as some of the most important works of art in existence.

The cartoons became extremely popular in the nineteenth century due to a loan exhibition at the British Institution in London and the practice of using them as a school for art students, who copied from them (sometimes directly, which damaged them further). When the National Gallery was founded in 1824, a number of artists lobbied for their transfer to the Gallery. Instead, in 1865 Queen Victoria sent them on loan to the South Kensington Museum - now the Victoria and Albert Museum - where they have remained ever since.

Descriptive line

Mounted albumen print, view of packing case and horse-drawn 'van' for transport of Raphael Cartoons from Hampton Court to South Kensington Museum, 1865

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Albumen process

Subjects depicted

Raphael Cartoons; Museums; Carts; Crates

Categories

Photographs; Architecture; History of the V&A

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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