Monday, 30 May 2016


This blueprint of the Victoria and Albert Museum, in the form of a colossal mechanised creature, is a rarity of the golden age of Victorian engineering. The recently unveiled diagram shows an elevation and cross section of a hugely ambitious project that heralded biotechnology a century before it became a reality.

Envisioned by Prince Albert (husband of Queen Victoria and prominent reformer and innovator of the time) as an itinerant art storage facility, it would have been able to bring knowledge of art and design to the working classes of the British Empire and beyond.

Designed to be self sufficient, its operation requires a crew of hundreds including pilots engineers, curators, wardens, conservators and maintenance among others. Because it almost was a moving autonomous city, the project –in obscurity until now– was nicknamed Albertopolis. Back in the days of the Great Exhibition this term had been coined by the press to mock Prince Albert's ambitious redevelopment of Kensington into a museum quarter.

Powered by steam technology, considered highly sophisticated by the standards of the age, it would have been able to displace itself over long distances and be fully operational for days. One of its peculiarities is a defence mechanism inspired by Prince Albert's Mughal court sword which was intended to be used as a deterrent to potential enemy attacks during planned educational campaigns into foreign territory.

In 1891, Aston Webb, the architect of the V&A's current facade, redesigned Albertopolis' already anthropomorphic shape to further resemble the Prince Consort; in homage to the visionary reformer.

Unfortunately, Albert's untimely death and the outbreak of World War I indefinitely delayed its completion. However, Albertopolis still lies dormant underneath the museum today, waiting for the lightning spark that will ignite its beating heart.

This edition of fifty A1 digital prints is inspired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington. It celebrates Prince Albert, figurehead of the Great Exhibition of 1851 that led to the creation of the world's first design museum.

Grand Entrance with Experienced Pilots

 Dacre Beasts and Sculpture Gallery

 Cast of David

 Trajan Column in the Cast Courts

 Medieval and Renaissance

 British Galleries and Sacred Silver

 Jewellery and Tapestries

Paintings and Glass 

 Members Cafe and Glass Lift

 Technical Services 

 Underground Water Storage

 Staff Changing Room and Dragon's Lair

 Sewer and Heating System

Central Computer and Ceramics Galleries