On 24 October 2011, the V&A’s new Photographs Gallery will open to the public. The gallery will have an inaugural display of works by key figures of photographic history including Victorian portraits by Julia Margaret Cameron and significant works by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Afred Stieglitz, Diane Arbus and Irving Penn.
The Photographs Gallery will draw upon the V&A’s internationally renowned collection of photographs, and will chronicle the history of photography from 1839 up to the 1960s. In 1858, the V&A became the first museum to exhibit photographs, and the new Photographs Gallery is able to showcase some of the most technically brilliant and artistically accomplished photographs in its collection. Temporary displays, primarily showcasing contemporary photography, will be shown in the V&A’s existing photographs gallery.
more on this article here
there is also an interesting article in The Guardian by Jonathan Jones
“Photography is a mechanical art. The photographer points a lens at an object, records the image on a plate or film or, today, in digital memory. Therefore all photographs should be similar, the hands of individual photographers unrecognisable. Yet the new Photographs Gallery at the V&A, which opened on Monday to showcase the world’s oldest museum collection of photographs, reveals the apparently limitless variety of the art and the utterly personal genius of great photographers.
A photograph of a steam train taken by Alfred Stieglitz in 1902 hangs near Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s 1932 picture Behind Gare St Lazare, Paris, on the blue-painted wall of the long, elegantly restored, Victorian gallery.” ....more of this here
Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the Launching Chains of ‘The Great Eastern’
Robert Howlett (1830-58), ‘Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the Launching Chains of ‘The Great Eastern”, 1857. Museum no. PH.246-1979
Roger Fenton (1819-69), ‘Roslyn Chapel’, 1856. Museum no. 290-1935