1901 vandalism

Market Lavington Museum

When does an act of vandalism become a bit of interesting history? This piece of minor vandalism was carried out at a property owned by the perpetrator’s family. And it is minor, being initials and dates carved into a tree.

The person who committed his initials to history was James Frank Welch, otherwise known as Jack. He carved his initials into a beech tree at Beech House in 1901. Of course it would have been good to have a 1901 photo so that changes could be seen. In fact we have one photo which was taken just before the tree was felled in 1965 (We have had pictures of the felling on this blog. Click here.)

Jack Welch carved his initials in this family owned tree in 1901 Jack Welch carved his initials in this family owned tree in 1901

This reasonably clearly says JFW 1901. That means this engraving was 64 years old at the time.

The photographer chose the…

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What does data have to do with museums?


On Friday 5th June I attended a free conference at the British Museum called ‘What does data have to do with me?’ As someone who deals with data about collections daily in my work, and has a reasonable grasp of the importance of visitor data from my previous roles and Museum Studies course, I still consider myself something of a novice in this field. To see the potential of what data, in the right hands, can do was a real eye-opener. The many speakers, from diverse organisations such as the BBC, the Guardian, the Audience Agency, Nesta and the Arts Council, spoke on different subjects and projects, but some common themes emerged again and again:


Unicorn was the word of the day. Many of the speakers mentioned the need for skilled people in order to effectively collect, manage, analyse and meaningfully use data, but Nesta’s Juan Mateos Garcia emphasised…

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Should We Care About Originals?

The Art Ache

I just read a BBC piece about Shaun Greenhalgh, the art forger who got caught because he misspelled some cuneiform words on a relief sculpture, supposedly originating from ancient Assyria. It goes to show, there’s at least one language in the world where basic knowledge of spelling and grammar still matters!aa

Jokes aside, I don’t always see eye to eye with the perception of authenticity within the art world. Why are we so enamored with the idea of the original, and often disparaging of copies, regardless of whether they’ve been passed off as originals or not? There is, of course, monetary value involved. Producing fakes, Greenhalgh was able to accumulate well over a million US dollars, yet that’s nothing. The most expensive artwork sold thus far was a picture by Gauguin; it recently went under the hammer for roughly $300 million. According to TEFAF the global art market is currently worth around $57 billion. Even a slight shift…

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Barcelona – Moderisme

Adventures in (Architectural) Space

The word modernismeis Catalan for “modern”, and often used to describe the type of modern art and architecture that developed in Barcelona in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. Think of the equivalent to Art Nouveau, but with a distinctive Catalan twist. My second day in Barcelona was spent admiring 19th and early 20th century architecture, more than I could ever hope to include in a single post.

The Sagrada Familia, still under construction
It’s impossible to talk about modernismein Barcelona without talking about Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). It is only fitting, then, that a large part of my day was spent visiting buildings by him. I began the day visiting the Sagrada Familia, a dream come true for me. It’s not every day that you get to visit a building still under construction that is of the scale of a Gothic cathedral. If you go here, or to any…

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Detroit Takes “High Art” to the Streets

Oil and Marble

Every year, the Detroit Institute of Art places high-quality reproductions of masterpieces from their collection in outdoor, public spaces. The project is called Inside/Out. (For more on from the DIA go HERE).

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This project makes me so happy.

I love art — probably more than most. I have a college degree in art, have traveled all over the world to study it, and my bookshelves are stacked two deep with art books. I paint and draw and even write whole novels about art.

I love it so much that I hate it when we put art — quite literally — on a pedestal, out of reach of so many. We put art in museums and whisper around it. We stand there — with serious expressions and crossed arms — and discuss a work’s historical significance. We ask each other: “What does it mean?” We want the docent to help us UNDERSTAND…

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Classical Movies in Ottoman Miniature Style

Art Stories

Some time ago I stumbled upon a really talented designer who was playing around with contemporary Ottoman-style miniatures. I got so excited about his work, so I emailed him right away and asked for an interview. He was extremely nice and right away I started working on my article. That was about two years ago… My book got in the way, but this story was always in the back of my mind. Following yesterday’s ‘flow’ I decided to finally release this piece.

As part of his graduation project at Dumlupinar University (Fine Arts Faculty, Graphic Design branch) Murat Palta released his brilliant interpretation of classical movies set as Ottoman miniatures. After watching Star Wars with his brother, the brothers contemplated on what would Star Wars look like if it was set in an Ottoman miniature? The result was mind blowing! Murat’s love for the cinema and illuminated books took…

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The Calling of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio

Stories In Art

The Calling of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio The Calling of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio

Imagine for a moment you are sitting with your friends or family by the street, going about your business. How would you react if Jesus and Saint Paul entered and called you forth to leave behind all your material possessions to follow Catholicism? That is the exact moment Caravaggio has created in this piece and the idea which he has attempted to affect in the viewer.

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The Light Art Obsession


Artists have been edging away from the traditional form of the canvas for over a hundred years. In 2015 it seems that light is the new medium aux choix. Paints and pencils have been replaced with electricity and tungsten bulbs. Yet light is being considered in a far more complex way than a mere flicking of a light switch. Through art, it is transforming into a tangible object. Artists are creating light sculptures, illusions and experiences that completely immerse the viewer. As well as questioning the boundaries between science and art, the medium of light also serves to challenge possibly our most untrustworthy sense – vision.

The MCA in Sydney currently has two exhibitions dedicated to light- “Light Show” and “Luminous”. Light Show follows its sell-out season at the Hayward Gallery in London, and it doesn’t fail to mesmerise in Australia – the exhibition is truly wondrous. Nothing puzzles the…

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