Beatrix Potter, V&A, London, UK
The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects that miraculously span over 5,000 years of human creativity. One of its latest exhibitions, co-curated with the National Trust, provides an escape into the poetic and water-coloured world of Beatrix Potter.
Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature celebrates the life and work of this best-loved children’s authors of the 20th century. The gallery space is now open to the public. It will run until January 2023, allowing visitors to discover Potter’s life exploring the places and animals that inspired her most beloved characters.
Michael Grubb Studio collaborated with the internal 3D design team at The V&A to deliver a sensitive lighting scheme that immerses the audience into the magical life of Beatrix Potter.
Helen Beatrix Potter was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist, best known for her children’s books featuring animals, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Throughout the family-friendly exhibition, over 200 personal objects, including original illustrations, personal diaries, letters, and photographs, take us through Potter’s journey to becoming an excellent storyteller and a businesswoman.
One of the main challenges of the scheme was balancing between safe lighting of sensitive exhibits while injecting theatre and drama into the spaces without distracting from the displays.
The exhibition travels through four distinct areas of Potter’s life:
- Town and Country provides a backdrop to her childhood in South Kensington in London.
- Under the Microscope highlights Potter’s interest in natural science.
- A Natural Storyteller reveals her almost accidental journey to becoming a best-selling author.
- And finally, Living Nature follows Potter to the Lake District and celebrates her profound impact on the natural landscape.
Supporting each life stage, the lighting narrative moves from the warm and traditional to surreal and dynamic, helping visitors journey from the inside to the great outdoors. Michael Grubb Studio combined conventional and theatrical lighting techniques to deliver the final vision for the exhibition.
Summarising the scheme Sam Brown, Lead Designer 3D at the V&A South Kensington, said, “Designing Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature at the V&A was a highly collaborative process. Michael Grubb Studio played an integral part throughout all stages. They carefully and creatively balanced the safe lighting of sensitive objects against an immersive and magical atmosphere.”
V&A co-curated with the National Trust
South Kensington, London, UK