Henry Cole, the V&A‘s first director, described the museum as ‘a schoolroom for everyone’. Its founding principle was to ‘make works of art available to all, to educate working people and to inspire British designers and manufacturers’. Amongst the almost sixty thousand objects on display are some by the always inspiring nineteenth century designer Christopher Dresser who had studied at the Government School of Design (later to become the Royal College of Art) and who became known as one of the first independent industrial designers. Read more about Christopher Dresser here.

The illustration below (c.1855) shows how Dresser deconstructed botanical forms. He applied what he discovered in these pared down elements to his own design, as seen in his Toast Rack (1881) on the right.

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