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This exhibition brings together 200 rarely seen masterpieces to present this exquisite medium as a unified art form for the first time.

Examining the development of watercolour painting during the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery, the exhibition explores its pivotal role in understanding, interpreting and documenting the natural world.

Centred on the three fundamental genres of landscape, natural history and portraiture, the exhibition presents highly finished works as well as vibrant sketches, life-like portrait miniatures and manuscript illuminations by seminal painters including Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein, Jacques le Moyne, Nicholas Hilliard, and Anthony van Dyck.

During the Renaissance, watercolour painting was a versatile and progressive European art form, yet it remains surprisingly little known. The exhibition will chart the medium’s emergence from the margins of illuminated manuscripts to an independent art form in its own right, reaching as far afield as the New World and the court of the Mughal emperor.


V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Cromwell Road, London, Greater London, SW7 2RL

020 7942 2000


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Phased reopening - see website

Daily, 10am – 5.45pm (Fri until 10pm)

The Fashion Gallery will be closed for refurbishment from 18 January 2021 to 20 April 2022

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