|The Natural History Museum|
|exuberant column top to go|
My friend Mary and I spent a day in Oxford visiting both the Pitt Rivers and Ashmolean museums. Quite a stretch for the legs but worth it for the simple restocking of inspirations.
We took sketch books, but I find that the brain refuses to engage meaningfully, and instead is busy absorbing things randomly.
Firstly, let's just celebrate the Natural History Museum and home of the Pitt Rivers collection. Stand back and applaud the creative literalism of mid nineteenth century architecture. You can find out all about it here, paid for mainly by public subscription,
what you see today is what was created before funds ran out and interest waned. I LOVE this building and interior, it tells, quite lyrically, of the excitement and energy surrounding the quest for knowledge, anywhere your hand touches a stone ballustrade there is a beautiful curl of carved leaf or bud by James or John O'Shea, those on the stair worn shiny and nearly off by a million hands.
|mongoose eating beetle... of course.|
OK, enough, visit yourself and enjoy.
Pass quickly by the collections of dinosaur bones and impaled lepidoptera to a small door in the far wall, to enter the Pitt Rivers museum. This I love too, rows of tall glass sided mahogany cabinets stuffed to the gunnels with, well, stuff.
Each cabinet is themed on an aspect of life, the contents brought together from all over the world to show how humanity addressed that aspect, a kind of collective divergence. It is lit gloomy, a little enervating as you really don't know if you will turn a corner and be confronted with a collection of shrunken heads, shoes, weaving looms, pots, talismans, or objects not instantly identifiable, causing you to peer closer to read the inked labels.
It is the ultimate manifestation of all small boy's need to 'collect' indulged to the n'th degree.
I now want a metal thingy with little dangling fish and fruit and a key and a miniature tambourine, how utterly eclectically Steampunk is that!!!