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Object of the Month – May 2012

Egyptian necklace with beads and amulets

Egyptian necklace

This necklace isn’t as old as you might think. It was made in Egypt for a tourist 100 to 200 years ago. In the 1800s Egypt became an increasingly popular tourist destination and these visitors were keen to bring back souvenirs of their trip. This could be something made as a souvenir, or a fake made to look much older than it was.

However, in this case the beads themselves are much older than the necklace.

As the beads were restrung relatively recently we cannot be certain where in Egypt they were originally found. However, we do know what all the larger beads – or amulets – stood for. These figures provided magical protection for the wearer, in this life or the afterlife.

The amulets include two eye of Horus (wadjet), Isis (recognisable by the throne on her head), four Tawerets (pregnant hippopotamus), two Anubis figures (with jackal head), two Bes figures (who protected children) and four striding men.

This fascinating necklace belonged to a professor of Egyptology at Oxford who worked in Egypt with Flinders Petrie, a famous archaeologist.

The Herbert has about 30 objects from ancient Egypt, all donated by individuals. You can see some of them on display in the History Gallery and a drawer of small objects in What’s in Store.

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Object of the Month – March 2012

 

Anglo Saxon shield boss

Anglo-Saxon Shield Boss

Anglo-Saxon warriors are typically pictured wearing a helmet, brandishing a spear or axe and holding a shield. These iconic objects were sometimes buried with the person when he died. From archaeological remains such as these, we have a good idea what people in the past may have looked like.

This shield boss would have formed the centre of a shield and protected the warrior’s hand. It was hand beaten out of a piece of iron. It dates from between 550 and 650 AD. It was found by Jack Edwards during archaeological excavations in Baginton in the 1930s.  

We know little about Saxon Coventry. However, we believe there was a settlement at Baginton near the present day church. It is known their cremation burial ground was on the north side of the village. This settlement was no longer used by 700 AD, at around the same time that people may have built houses on or near what is now Coventry city centre.

This shield boss along with cremation pots from the cemetery can be seen in What’s in Store our accessible store in the Herbert.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 7

Kenilworth Castle with cattle by Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding

Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding (1787 to 1855)
Kenilworth Castle with cattle
pre 1855

Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding was a popular and successful painter, particularly in watercolour. He exhibited over 600 works during his life. From the early 1800s Fielding made several tours around Britain painting landscapes.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 6

William Brooke, Ancient Passage Leading to the Hall, 1819

William Brooke (1772 to 1860)
Ancient Passage leading to the Hall
1819

St Mary’s Guildhall was begun in 1340 by the merchant guild of St Mary. The building was soon also used by the mayor and governing body of the city, which was closely linked to the guild. It continued to be the city’s centre of administration until construction of the Council House was completed 1917. It hosted many royal visits and a royal prisoner – Mary Queen of Scots. More interesting historical facts about the Guildhall can be found on Coventry City Council’s website.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 5

Bablake School by Edith Gittins

Edith Gittins (1845 to 1910)
Bablake School
1868 – 1887

Edith Gittins was a social reformer who campaigned for women’s rights. She founded the Leicester Women’s Liberal Association and was an active member of the Women’s Suffrage movement.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 4

Jordan Well, Coventry by Sydney Bunney, 1916

Sydney Bunney (1877 to 1928)
Jordan Well, Coventry
June 8 1916

Sydney Bunney is best known for his accurate views of Coventry streets and buildings, painted between the 1890s and his death. The Herbert has over five hundred of his pencil and watercolour drawings of Coventry.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 3

 

Bayley Lane and 'The Cottage', Coventry by Herbert Cox, 1918

What do you think these men are talking about?

Herbert Cox (1869 to 1941)
Bayley Lane and ‘The Cottage’, Coventry
1918

Bayley Lane is one of the oldest streets in Coventry. The name was in use in the 1200s and probably comes from the bailey or outer defences of the castle which stood in this area in the 1100s and 1200s.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 2

Old Clopton Bridge, Stratford Upon Avon by William Quatremain

William Wells Quatremain (about 1858 to 1930)
Old Clopton Bridge, Stratford upon Avon
1919

Old Clopton Bridge, which has fourteen arches, was built about 1490. It still carries the main road over the River Avon.

William Quatremain also painted some views of Stratford for a popular booklet entitled ‘Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon’ by J. Salmon, Art Printer, Sevenoaks. Quatremain had a bicycle adapted to carry his paint box, easel and stool.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 1

Paul Sandby, Entrance to Warwick Castle, about 1775

Paul Sandby (1725 to 1809)
The Entrance of Warwick Castle from the Lower Court, No. 2
about 1775

This aquatint was made by Paul Sandby, the first artist in England to use aquatint printmaking. In fact, Sandby created the name aquatint after refining an earlier etching technique. Using the aquatint process allows artists to etch a range of tones and create tonal effects similar to watercolours.

This work and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Object of the Month – August 2011

This incredible object is over 200 years old. It is a picture made from small pieces of paper cut into floral patterns, a shield and letters. These have been arranged on a satin background and the whole has been framed. The caption at the bottom of the picture reads ‘this was done by Jane Hawtin, born without hands at Coventry…1769 – May 3 1780’.

It seems almost impossible to me that someone born without hands was able to produce this picture.

The writing on the picture is slightly damaged and it is not clear if Jane was 11 when she completed the work, or if it took her 11 years to make the picture. At this time young girls often made a needlework sampler as proof of their embroidery skills. You can see several on display at the Herbert. It could be that this careful work was Jane’s equivalent of a needlework sampler.

Unfortunately we don’t know anything else about Jane Hawtin or what happened to her, but this object shows she had patience and tenacity.

Ali

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