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.
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...
£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...
£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...