The V&A has opened a new room in its popular British Galleries dedicated to exploring notions of Britishness, through the lens of comedy. Opening 29 March 2019, at an extraordinary time in British life, Laughing Matters: The State of a Nation will reflect on the role of humour in debates around identity, empire and power over the past two hundred years. Drawing on the V&A’s world-class collections of art, design and performance, this will be the museum’s first permanent home for its material relating to comedy. On display will be thirty-four objects and key loans, including new acquisitions of costumes, props, photographs, film and television clips, and interviews with contemporary comedians. Featuring work by comedians including Ronnie Barker and Spike Milligan, and comedic representations of British icons including Queen Victoria and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the V&A will unpick the punchlines to discover what humour since the Victorian era – whether subversive, surreal, mocking or celebratory – can tell us about what it means to be British.
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