Category: Museum

Painted Hall Ceiling @ Old Royal Navy College – Greenwich

Museum

Painted Hall Ceiling @ Old Royal Navy College – Greenwich

Old Royal Navy College, photo by JMorton

Old Royal Navy College, photo by JMorton

Peter and I went to see a once in a lifetime conservation project at the Old Royal Navy College in Greenwich.

The last conservation was done in the 1950s and they reckon the next one will be in 100 years time.

There were scaffoldings everywhere, which are securely fastened and safe and convenient enough for the public to trod on to go near the ceiling and admire England’s most comprehensive and greatest decorative painting.

Close up dome ceiling, photo by PH Morton

 

Thus, it earned the sobriquet of UK’s Sistine Chapel.

They are currently cleaning and conserving 40,000 square feet of the most amazing allegorical work that used to deliver a strong political message about the monarchy, religion, navigation,  maritime power, and commerce, amongst other things.

The project was instigated by Queen Mary II, who died before its fruition.  Nevertheless, she will always be remembered for it as her image together with King William III, her husband, is depicted in the middle of the ceiling murals along several gods and goddesses.

A relatively unknown artist was commissioned to design the ceiling decoration.  He was Sir James Thornhill, who was knighted for his efforts.

He was paid a princely some £1 per square metre of work on the halls and £3 for the ceiling per square meter.

Thornhill did not work alone.   He had an assistant and hired specialist painters to finish the work as towards the middle of it Thornhill started to receive accolade and private works.

Our tour guide said that monies confiscated from an infamous Scottish pirate William Kidd, more known as Captain Kidd was used for the building and decoration for this project that was the Old Royal Navy College.

The old Royal Navy College was built as a mess hall for sailors, naval pensioner and those who used the Royal Naval hospital nearby.

The sailors and the wrens used the site as a dining area.  Inches of gravy and dried old food were cleaned up in the 1950s when it was first restored.

It is still used as a dining venue once in a while for a really grand special occasion.

Today, the building is a major attraction in Greenwich, Tourists from all over the world come to visit.

By the way, it cost about £10 for an adult and £5 for a child over the age of 6 to join the tour which will be wrapped up towards the end of September 2018.  The numerous number of scaffoldings will be taken down.

It is hoped that by March 2019, the Painted Hall Ceiling will reopen to the public in a different perspective: from the ground looking up above the high ceiling and walls.

Get down to Greenwich for this once in a lifetime privilege before it is too late.

 

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Royal Airforce Museum (RAF Museum) – Hendon

Museum

Royal Airforce Museum (RAF Museum) – Hendon

RAF Museum, photo by PH Morton

We were pleasantly surprised how much the RAF Museum had changed from a year ago when we last visited.  Actually, when we went last year, they were already busy with the renovation.

The very helpful guide had said to be sure to come back because it would be so different, with more exhibitions and things to do.  Also, a new museum restaurant will be opening as well.

As it is now the last few days before the start of the new school year here in the UK, today, with our grandson, Nathan, we went and had a fantastic time with all the amazing array of beautiful warplanes, which western democracy had much to thank for.

The renovation was partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, a very well deserved funding I say.

This renovation also coincided with the 100-Years Anniversary of the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Photo by PH Morton

This is, therefore, the ideal time to visit the museum.  A perfect time for the whole family, young and adult will sure to have something to find interesting.

There are so many things that you can get involved in, plenty of interactive activities to be experienced

Like the majority of museums in the UK, the entry is free.

Of course, there are some ‘rides’ and activities that would cost between £3 to £10 per person.  The simulator machine is £3 per person, there was also a chance to board and learn more about a Spitfire for the princely sum of £10, it is well worth it as there was an assistant that would talk you everything about its history.

Peter and Nathan went to the 4D cinema.  The ticket for this is £5 per person.  Our nine-year-old Nathan really enjoyed it.  He said it feels like flying.

Photo by PH Morton

Because of its excellent and large number of exhibits, which is distributed in six hangers, it is much lauded by visitors from all over the world.

There is nothing like being up close and personal with a Vulcan Bomber.  It is quite an experience!

In fact, there was a coach full of visitors disembarking in the carpark when we were there.

The whole family could easily spend the whole day at the museum

Photo by PH Morton

There are a couple of coffee shops for a quick break.

The was also a restaurant, which serves hot food.  I have to say that they make a good Chilli Con Carne.  Our Nathan had loved, I thought he would find it too spicy but he loved it so much, he wanted his own child portion after he had fish goujons with rice as at around 3:45, the restaurant had run out of chips.

Child portion starts at £5 and adult chili portion was £8.50.

If you do not want to eat in the restaurant, there were specific rooms, next to play areas, where you can enjoy your pack lunch.

If the children needed a break and rather overwhelmed with the display, there is a play area outside, with aesthetically pleasing slides in the shapes of a helicopter, Spitfire, a castle and many more.

There are also plenty of toilets, very clean, dotted all and clearly sign-posted all over the place.

There is also a gift shop located at Hanger 1.  The items are reasonably priced.

We really had a great time at the RAF Museum and as a lottery buyer, I support this project 110%.  Well done!

By the way as a recommendation, the Vulcan Bomber is really something to behold, I would have liked it to be exhibited on its own with a gallery, where you can walk and admire it from all angles and corners.

Happy 100th Anniversary to the RAF!

 

The Betrayal of Jesus

The Betrayal of Jesus, by Caravaggio

The Betrayal of Jesus

We saw this painting during a recent sojourn to the National Gallery (London) during a special Caravaggio painting exhibition and influence to other artists.  It is about how he applied light to his work, thereby focusing your eyes to the real subject of his work.  His technique was emulated by other artists after him.

The above painting is about the betrayal of Jesus.  Judas was giving Jesus a kiss, (which has became infamously popular as an idiom, meaning betrayal) to let it be known that the person the authorities/soldiers were after was the one he was kissing.

At the periphery, a man can be seen holding a lamp.  That man is the painter himself, Caravaggio.  Isn’t he clever.  He made it very personal but to the viewers of the painting as well.

We thought, we should highlight this painting being a Maundy Thursday.

Masks

 

Masks, photo by PH Morton

Masks

#1 Noh Mask

#2 Zo-Onna Mask

#3 Hannya Mask, represents a female demon

#4 Hanakobu Akujo

#5 Uba

These masks can be currently and readily admired at the V&A Museum, East Asian gallery.

Masks are used for protection, disguise, performance and entertainment.

The above masks were Japanese and were sculpted from wood.  They were based from the 14th century classical Japanese theatre called Noh which was much loved and patronised by the Shogun, supreme military leader.

Saint Scholastica

Death of St Scholastica by Johann Baptist Wenzel Bergl

Saint Scholastica

Saint Scholastica (Santa Scholastica) is said to be the twin sister of St Benedict, the founder of Western monasticism. She is a saint recognised by the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

The twins came from a very affluent family of Norcia (Nursia), in the province of Perugia, southwestern of Umbria, Italy.

The twins were quite religious from an early age.  They were inseparable until St Benedict had to leave for Rome for further studies.

Later on after St Benedict founded his first monastery in Monte Cassino, St Scholastica also headed a female version (nuns) of the Benedictine monastery just a few miles from Monte Cassino.

St Scholastica Reliquary, V&A Museum, photo by JMorton

The above is a reliquary, a container of holy relics.  The hand is shown holding a bird, which is reminiscent of how St Benedict saw the soul/spirit of his dead sister as she ascended into heaven in the form of a dove.

The above St Scholastica reliquary was made from silver and originated in Spain and now proudly displayed at the Victroria and Albert Museum.  It is quite spectacular.  The little glass hole was once used to view the relic from St Scholastica’s left arm.

St Scholastica is the patron saint of nuns, convulsive children, schools, tests, books, reading (there are many schools and colleges named after St Scholastica).  She is also the saint to invoke against storms and rain.

There was a mystical  story regarding St Scholastica and St Benedict.  Apparently the twins met up once a year in an inn inbetween their respective monasteries.

St Scholastica begged her brother to stay with her for the evening so they can continue praying and discussing religious matters.  But St Benedict refused; he was adamant, he had a rule of spending the nights in his cell in his monastery.

With clasped hands, St Scholastica prayed in earnest, there was suddenly heavy rain and storm, making it impossible for St Benedict to leave.

St Benedict was not very pleased! Benedict asked, “What have you done?”, to which she replied, “I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery.” Benedict was unable to return to his monastery, and they spent the night in discussion.[

Three days later, St Scholastica passed away; St Benedict saw the dove flying into the heavenly blue yonder instinctively knowing that it was his sister.

St Benedict ordered for his sister’s body to be brought into his monastery for burial in the space he allotted for himself.  In the end they were buried together as St Benedict also passed away not too long after.

Her feast day is 10 February!

British Museum

British Museum

British Museum, Photo by JMorton

British Museum

Did you Know?

The British Museum is the first public museum in the whole world.  It first open its doors in 1759, free to visit for the studious and the curious.

The museum has some of the most important and relevant exhibits in the whole world.

 

 

 

St Peter, First Apostle

St Peter (V&A), Photo by PH Morton

St Peter (V&A), Photo by PH Morton

St Peter, First Apostle

Peter was originally called Simon (Simeon).  Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, the Greek translation of the Aramaic, ‘rock’ in anticipation of Peter’s major role as the leader of the disciples and the first church of Jerusalem.

Before Peter became a disciple, he was a fisherman together with his brother, Andrew.  He was also married.

Peter was a very interesting disciple.  He was the first disciple chosen by Jesus.  Though he was a willing one, he often questioned his faith.

He admitted his unworthiness and guilt when he had to deny knowing Christ three times as the cock crowed and when he was being examined by the Jewish council.

He was crucified in Rome head downwards.

Mitre – Bishop’s Hat

mitre V&A 2013 057 (2)

Mitre – Bishop’s Hat

Pope John Paul II wearing his Mitre

Pope John Paul II wearing his Mitre

 

A mitre or miter is a type of headgear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of Popes, bishops and certain abbots in traditional Christianity; continuing the priestly practice of Temple Judaism. Mitres are worn in the Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church also wears a mitre during important ceremonies such as the Episcopal Consecration. (Wikipedia).

One Bishop of Edmonton explained that a mitre and its shape symbolised one of the tongues of flame that descended from heaven onto the heads of Jesus’s Disciples (Pentecost) to inspire and equip them to spread The Words of Jesus throughout the land.

The mitre always reminds me of a rather funny (hilarious I thought) incident during the 80’s involving the late Bishop of Edmonton later to become Bishop of  Peterborough, Bill Westwood, the father of rap DJ Tim Westwood.

The Bishop came to visit All Saints’ for a Confirmation.  .

Peter at that time was an acolyte – a server in the church.

Just before the service began, the Bishop was having a bit of trouble adjusting and re-adjusting his mitre to get is straight on his head. Quick-witted Peter, told the Bishop that perhaps he needed a Spirit level. (a builder’s tool used for ensuring level surfaces).  Double ententre there. Hahaha

I was laughing so hard when Peter told me what he said but apparently the Bishop glared at him.

The above photo and note were taken at the V&A Museum.

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