Study, conservation and display of a rare pair of curtains from Late Antique Egypt | British Museum blog

Project curator Amandine Mérat gives us an overview of the historical background of the curtains, whilst conservators Anna Harrison and Monique Pullan describe work carried out in order to prepare them for display…

Source: Study, conservation and display of a rare pair of curtains from Late Antique Egypt | British Museum blog

Making histories: Captain Cook and Indigenous Australia

British Museum blog

Maria Nugent, Research Fellow, Australian National University

Objects on display in the Indigenous Australia exhibition. Objects on display in the Indigenous Australia exhibition at the British Museum, London

There is a corner (literally) in the BP exhibition Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation that features the famous British navigator Captain James Cook. It occurs at a pivotal point, where the exhibition’s narrative moves from the hard-to-fathom timescales of the Dreaming (the complex system of beliefs and stories that explain the meaningful creation of the world, and how humans reproduce that system through ceremony, art, storytelling and other meaningful action, which one anthropologist described as an ‘everywhen’) and the 40,000 plus years of human occupation of the continent, to the much shorter and more immediate timespan of the last 245 years since British encounters with Indigenous people there began. While Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese voyagers had visited since the early 1600s, Cook was the first British navigator to explore the region…

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Exhibition: Love Bites – Caricatures by James Gillray

The History of Love

To mark 200 years since satirist James Gillray’s death, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is currently holding an exhibition in his honour. During his lifetime he created over 1000 prints, and here on display is a group of 60 examples ostensibly held together by heartstrings – they explore the artist’s often scathing view of love, sex. marriage, friendship and political allegiance in Georgian England, as well as his talent for lampooning his contemporaries.

It offers a refreshing look at Gillray from a perspective coloured more by human intimacy and alliance than the usual political division and grotesquery – we are even treated to William Pitt the Younger as a Poldark-style shirtless Adonis (alright, probably Apollo, technically). Swoon.

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William Pitt the hunk (& a few obligatory Frenchmen with no pants on in the background), from Light Expelling Darkness(1795)

Instead of drooling, eyeball-devouring French revolutionaries, or George III defecating on France, or Napoleon merrily wallowing…

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Review: Homes of the Homeless: Seeking Shelter in Victorian London

London Historians' Blog

A guest post by London Historians Member, Jane Young.

Geffrye Union board250For anyone that is familiar with the Geffrye Museum it will be no surprise to find another skillfully executed exhibition there which displays the usual beautifully finished attention to detail that the Geffrye does so well.

Included in the exhibition are some spectacular original paintings. The centrepiece used for the exhibition literature, ‘The Pinch of Poverty’ by Thomas Benjamin Kennington 1891 is exquisite and Gustave Doré’s ‘A Poor House’ 1869 simply magnificent to mention just two of many.

Geffrye Daffodils500 The Pinch of Poverty by Thomas Benjamin Kennington, 1891. (detail)

It is very refreshing to find that the curator has not restricted the exhibition to the tried and trusted method of using exclusively the East End of London as the only exemplar of all that denotes slums and poverty within this period. As a result the exhibition is well balanced, covering all of London…

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Grumpy George and his family: The First Georgians at the Queen’s Gallery

The History Woman's Blog

David Garrick with his Wife Eva-Maria Veigel. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014 David Garrick with his Wife Eva-Maria Veigel. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

The first Georgians must have been a grumpy lot. At least this is the impression visitors of the exhibition The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy 1714-1760 get. For all the publicity materials show a smiling David Garrick with his Wife Eva-Maria Veigel painted by William Hogarth, while none of the pictures of George I (1660-1727) currently displayed at the Queen’s Gallery were apparently friendly enough to make it onto the posters.

The oil painting of the king of Great Britain and Ireland, and elector of Hanover by Sir Godfrey Kneller, which greets viewers at the entrance of the gallery, looks rather stern and serious as if George was weighed down by his newly acquired role. The Act of Settlement (1701) had transferred the succession to the English throne to his mother, Sophia of Hanover as…

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