Filed under art

A Boy’s Memorial

A Boy’s Memorial

Bristol’s Mayor’s Chapel is a strange church, opposite the Cathedral, it was built in the 13th century by Maurice de Gaunt, as a hospital to care for the local poor. When Henry VIII closed the monasteries, it was converted for use by the Queen Elizabeth School for boys, and the associated Red Maids School for … Continue reading

Parish Boundary Markers Bristol

Parish Boundary Markers Bristol

I love obscure bits of history, and parish boundary markers are great because you really have to poke around with your eyes open to spot them. They were used to mark the parish boundaries of mediaeval cities, to establish who had to pay church rates, who attended churches, and as legal documents in property sales. … Continue reading

A Girl Writing

A Girl Writing

This is a lovely image by Henriette Browne of 1870, on display in London’s Museum of Childhood.  But missing from their notes is the story being told. The young girl is gazing at a small bird, not actually writing at the moment. Behind them is an empty cage. Women in the 18th century often described … Continue reading

Suffering Tradesmen

Suffering Tradesmen

Ornate cabinets were popular in Europe Post Reformation, especially North of the alps. Many skilled tradespeople were involved, but we generally know nothing about them. This cabinet was built for Gallus Jacob, financier of the Prince Bishop of Wurzburg about 1716. Inside the completed cabinet was this cry of pain: I don’t understand this. Should be … Continue reading

Masterpieces

For many centuries tradesmen learned their craft via apprenticeships. In Britain they were generally contracted outside the family to widen the skills taught and if a master died, the newly qualified journeyman might marry his master’s widow to continue the business and prevent the family becoming bankrupt. This meant it was rare for people in … Continue reading

An Empty Cot

An Empty Cot

This is on display in London’s Museum of Childhood, amidst a variety of child sized furniture and toys. But this one stands out – not for what it is, but for what it is not. A baby sized bed should hold a baby, a miracle, the start of a life, a celebration of family and … Continue reading

Child Prodigies

Child Prodigies

James Ferguson grew up in rural Scotland in the early 18th century. Like most families, the Fergusons could not support their children so sent them to work at an early age. James became a shepherd but spent his days making models of mills, spinning wheels and any other mechanisms he saw. At night he lay … Continue reading

Thatcher’s Art Foiled by a Dog

Thatcher’s Art Foiled by a Dog

This is from the i paper a few weeks ago, and is  a fine lesson in how the best laid plans can fail: Previously unseen government documents show how the former Prime Minister pulled out all the stops in 1988 to persuade Swiss-based industrialist Baron Heini Thyssen-Bornemisza and his Spanish wife to bequeath their collection … Continue reading