Museum pieces dusted off for a new market
Licensing: the V&A is developing income by allowing private businesses to make use of its collection of designs
Sunday 19 March 1995
In recent weeks the museum, which boasts the world's finest collection of the decorative arts, has signed licensing deals with a framing gallery in Saudi Arabia and with Royal Selangor International, a Malaysian pewter manufacturer. The agreements others made in recent years with a range of companies in Japan, the US and mainland Europe. The products being sold under the V&A brand name include such items as bedding, textiles, ceramics and glassware.
The initiative is the responsibility of V&A Enterprises, the commercial arm of the museum, which, like equivalents at other museums, had been best known for operating a shop and mail-order catalogue. But Michael Cass, managing director of V&A Enterprises, says the licensing programme is "something that sets us apart" from other commercial fund-raising activities by museums. He says it also takes the museum back to its origins, since it was known in the 19th Century as the Museum of Manufactures. He would not say how much the licensing contributes to the division, but the commercial arm over all gives the museum about £500,000 a year in profits and rents.
Mr Cass says the shop and catalogue are progressing well, but he sees the licensing programme, launched four to five years ago, as an important development area. "We started in a smallish way with a lot of paper products, but we're branching out," he said, adding that the project is taking on an international flavour because "the collections themselves are very international".
The deal with Royal Selangor, sealed within the past month, has its roots in the company's purchase two years ago of Comyns, a respected British silverware manufacturer. Royal Selangor, which holds a royal warrant from the Sultan of Selangor state, will make products to designs inspired by those in the museum. It believes the V&A endorsement, added to the quality of the products, will make them attractive the world over. The first range of pieces will be unveiled next year and further collections are being developed.
Royal Selangor now gains significant revenue from the tourist trade in Malaysia, but hopes for strong growth in exports, particularly to Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, the US and Britain. PK Yong, the managing director, says: "We trade internationally with products based on fine design. What better association could there be than the endorsement of our design excellence by the renowned Victoria & Albert Museum."
Mr Cass added that working with manufacturers in this way raises money and raises consciousness about the museum.
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Israel-Gaza conflict: The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real
Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
Syria conflict: Syrian and Turkish Kurds unite to battle Isis threat - ‘We shoot them like sheep, but next day double the number return’
Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
iJobs Money & Business
Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)
£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...
£500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...
£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...