"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

Information at a Glance

  • Face-to-face course
  • 3 days, 11:15-16:00 (including breaks)
  • 19, 20 and 21 July
  • Tutor: Viv Lawes
  • Fee: £249
  • Imperial College attendance certificate
Booking link

There is nothing as enjoyable as  studying art and design using actual objects, rather than photographs orvideo reproductions, and so for this course we invite you to join Viv Lawes, lecturer in art and design history at Sotheby's Institute, on a three day exploration of the art and design collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, London.

Each day we will join Viv at the museum, where we will focus on a different area of art and design history, with the aim of learning some of the key defining features of different periods and styles in art and design history, the work of particular artists and craftsmen and women, and some of the ideas that underpin key works of art and design in the museum.

This will range from the way Michelangelo's great sculpture David is the embodiment of the Renaissance obsession with the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, to the reaction against the industrialisation of Western society that inspired the founder of the modern studio-pottery movement, Bernard Leach. 

The course is designed to be open, informal and friendly, and Viv's teaching style is interactive and enthusiastic. There is no doubt we will soon find ourselves looking at objects in new ways, thinking about them deeply, and discussing them with Viv and the rest of the group.

The course is aimed at complete beginners, and so no previous knowledge of art or design history or practice is necessary. It is also be suitable for those who have some background in art and design history or practice.

  • Please note this is an in-person course that takes place in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
  • It lasts three days, on 19, 20 and 21 July 2022, from 11:15 to 16:00 each day (with breaks during that time).
  • Other museums might be used if particular displays relevant to this course are not available at the V&A during the run of this course.


Successful completion of this course leads to the award of an Imperial College attendance certificate.

Course Information

Course Programme

Programme (may be subject to change)

  • Day 1: Classicism, the Medieval World and Rebirth
  • Day 2: The Expansion of Trade: Cross-currents in Design
  • Day 3: Revivalism, Design Reform and 20th-Century Movements

Additional Reading

There is no compulsory reading required for this course, and there is no set course text, but if you would like to read more on the subject we suggest:

  • Kemp, M. (ed.) (2000) The Oxford History of Western Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Snodin, M. and Howard, M. (1996) Ornament: A Social History Since 1450. London: Yale University Press. This is a really useful and insightful book into the uses and meaning of ornament. A helpful section on the impact of engravings on the dissemination of design. 
  • Fleming J. and Honour, H. (1989) The Penguin Dictionary of Decorative Arts. London: Penguin. This is an excellent reference book, perfect when you are making a start on your research. Good for terminologies, cross-referencing etc.

Your Tutor

Photograph of Viv Lawes Viv Lawes 

Viv is an art historian, art market analyst and curator/ writer who combines a hands-on career in the art business with academic research and teaching in Higher Education.  

She is UK Consultant to Larasati Auctioneers (Jakarta/ Singapore) and One East Asia gallery, Singapore, and has curated numerous exhibitions of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art in London and Singapore. She teaches at several London-based universities, including Sotheby’s Institute of Art, the University of the Arts London, the City & Guilds of London Art School, SOAS (University of London), and Imperial College. Recently, she was appointed the educational lead for a new art event, London Asian and African Contemporary Art (LACA), founded in 2020.  

A former art market journalist at The Art Newspaper, she writes for a wide array of publications and private clients. Her articles, essays and reports have been published in numerous arts journals, newspapers, catalogues, handbooks and websites, aimed at both the academic and general readership, in print and online. 

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the course tutor, Viv Lawes, at v.lawes@cityandguildsartschool.ac.uk