The V&A Makes a Meal of It

The V&A could usefully have taken a leaf out of its own history. In the catalog foreword by the museum’s director, the historian and former Labour Party parliamentarian Tristram Hunt, we learn that the V&A boasted the world’s first “purpose-built museum refreshment rooms,” designed by William Morris’s firm. The V&A also included, Hunt goes on, “an early food museum, alongside displays of working fish hatcheries—installed by the eccentric, visionary zoologist Frank Buckland.” To be sure, the Comté cheese made using microbes taken from chef Heston Blumenthal’s pubic hair is as playful as it is subversive, but the theme of this scatter-shot show remains elusive: Is it about food really, or is it a show of food-related conceptual art?

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