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Victoria and Albert Museum London England

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Uploaded on Dec 3, 2007

The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A) in London is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Founded in 1852 as the South Kensington Museum, the V&A has since grown to now cover some 12.5 acres[2] and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, in virtually every medium, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa.

The Cast Courts (originally called the Architectural Courts[1]) of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, comprise two large halls. Unusually for a museum, the Cast Courts house a collection not of originals, but copies. Here are to be found reproductions of some of the most famous sculptures in the world. Most of the copies were made in the 19th century and in many cases the copies have better resisted the ravages of time, 20th-century pollution and over-zealous conservation than the originals.

The Courts were designed by Major General Henry Scott of the Royal Engineers and were opened to the public in July 1873. The Courts are architecturally dramatic: they are large and high, topped by a roof of glass that admits sunlight which is supplemented by electric lights. The two Courts are divided by corridors on two levels; the mid-level corridor allows the Courts to be viewed from above. The Court that includes Trajan's Column also has a high walkway around it at a third level; this walkway is not open to the public. It is said that the proportions of the West Court were informed by the need to display Trajan's column and the imposing Portico de la Gloria.

The West Court predominantly contains casts of Northern European and Spanish sculpture and Trajan's Column. The East Court has casts of Italian monuments.

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