Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Glasshouse Effect — A Photo Opportunity in the BM

I missed my train by five minutes. Without a watch but having the camera on me I timed my arrival at the station by its internal clock, which was correct last time I looked! With twenty minutes spare and feeling peckish I went to Coventry Station's news vendor for a bite to eat — a quid plus for a bag of crisps! You must be joking mate, I'm off to Greggs for a Cornish pasty at the same cost, you can keep your overpriced vitals and stick them where the sun don't shine...

That was a mistake. It was, according to my camera cum timepiece, twenty-to-two and my train arrives at 2:01, which was plenty enough time to re-enter town, scoff one down and get back . I return satisfied but the station clock is 'out' by ten minutes and my train has been and gone.... Ah crap!

Infernal clocks...

This isn't a problem but the ticket is el cheapo and that meant a meandering two and a half hour journey via Northampton rather than the 125mph rocket service straight through to Euston in just over an hour so I have to wait for the next slow train. I'm now short on available time at the British Museum perusing the Iron Age treasures of Room 50 before meeting Judy down in town at a conference at 5:30 museum closing time for our traditional evening soiree.

...and that means I have to work up a sweat... Bugger!

I make the walk from Euston to the BM in ten minutes via the backstreets of Bloomsbury but have to enter the grand portal in Great Russel Street rather than through the backdoor sheaved in blue hoardings whilst building work progresses. Five minutes lost then...

Finally in room 50 I shoot off a load of hurried pics of what I'm interested in and before I know it — closing time has arrived —and enough will just have to be enough.



The Aylesford Bucket is a lot larger than I'd imagined. I've seen it plenty of times before but never needed to take a great deal of notice of such detail. The glass and the very low light conditions make life hard getting a decent photo and the results are half real, half mirage...


The Welwyn bucket heads were next on my list but I fare just as badly. Shooting twenty odd pics one is bound to be bad of three and sure enough, two come out well but the best of the third is blurred. Typical. It was intended as the best photo available on the Internet of the entire set, but now it's still the best but only slightly better than the worst which is the next best available...

At least I established they were flat-backed, therefore not bucket handle mounts as led to believe and simply appliques. All traces of patina removed too so they were more pitted than I'd imagined. Glad that the practice of removal down to the bronze is nowadays recognised for the mistake it is, because they would have been stunning 'in the green,' I'm sure.

Next on the agenda is anything interesting in my current line of enquiry so there's a quick scuttle about looking for bulls heads and anything remotely related to buckets and their mounts. I'm in luck. Though the exhibition represents the best of the best when it comes to British Celtic art and some of the greatest treasures of the period are on display in Room 50, there's still a few pieces that though not the great treasures illustrating every book on the subject, are still of interest in their own right.



The object above was interesting because the form of the bulls heads is closely related to those on certain bucket mounts thought to be Roman period. They might be, they might not be. Nothing about the Celtic art of the Iron Age is ever that clear cut. I didn't have time to even remember what the whole object actually was so I guess a return to Room 50 is in order next time I'm in London...




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