22 March 2016

Drawing Tuesday - Museum of London

First, an overview of the cafe area where we meet to lunch and share sketchbooks - you can see the prevailing lighting conditions -
In the "prehistory" gallery we found relative quiet, bright lighting that aids ageing eyes, and even a tape loop of birdsong, very restful.

Non-human prehistory, found in or near the Thames - 
Foot of a 200,000 year old elephant, by Joyce

Rhinocerous skull, by Jo
"Old stuff" -
Tools, mostly hand axes; I tried to observe the relative tones.
The bronze age pot was decorated by someone with long fingernails and
slender fingers (note the deep indentations), "probably a woman"

Facial reconstruction of Shepperton woman, drawn by Janet B
"one of the oldest people to have been found in the London region. The 
skeleton is between 5,640 and 5,100 years old"
Nearby in the Roman galleries Janet K focused on a group of funerary urns, finally tackling the glass urn with pen -
 and Sue found a marble river god from the mid 2nd century - note the thick stem of bulrush extending along his upper arm; he symbolises the Thames and Styx rivers -

"Tool of the week" (an occasional feature) arose from an earlier discussion of white charcoal. Jo found a set of these among her supplies (the wipes are useful when using these!) -
and had used the range on a piece of dark green card -

A display that intrigued me was this conjunction of modern and ancient - under Heathrow airport is the remains of a neolithic settlement; a bit of trick photography captures both at once -
In 2003, as part of preparations for Terminal 5, this was announced to be the single largest dig in the UK; some 80,000 objects were found during 15 months.

Finally, these old bits of wood. On the left is a club made of alder; on the right, one of the representations of the Dagenham Idol, so-called on account of being found in the peat in 1922, during an excavation for sewer plants on the site that became the huge Ford plant. The original now belongs to Colchester Museum and is on indefinite loan to Valence House Museum in Dagenham, but the Museum of London has two copies, both on view near each other.
"The statue is made of Scots pine and stands 18 inches (46 cm) high. It has two legs but no arms; hips and buttocks narrowing to a waist and then broadening to shoulders; and a rounded head. There are straight markings cut across both legs. A hole in the pubic region can be interpreted as indicating a female, but with the insertion of a phallic peg (now lost) would indicate a male. There appears to be damage to the left eye, recalling Odin's sacrifice of an eye at Mímir's Well in return for wisdom in Norse myth."

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