Saturday, July 6, 2013


We visited Room 50 and saw the marvellous Rillaton Cup next to another similar crumpled cup that had been found in 2001.  Twenty minutes is all the time we had so my photos seem to be at all angles.  Seeing the cup found in the unlikely location of the desolate Bodmin Moor, reminded us that landscape has a fundamental role in the lives of these people.  Spirits, ancestors or maybe gods, the Hurler stone circles to one side of the Rillaton Barrow and the weirdly shaped Cheesewring on the other.  Also, one of my favourite images little 'celtic' ducks marching along a 'flesh hook', (something to cook the meat on), you occasionally see these ducks on cauldrons or drinking cups, begging the question are they a favourite food?
Upstairs to the restaurant, where we had to sit through about 20 minutes of a very loud fire alarm, assured by the staff that it was only practice.  But weirdly four fireman and  two policemen spent ten minutes in the kitchen behind us, everyone clapped in the restaurant when the fire alarm finished it was such a relief.
Then off to the Japanese Conservation studio, through long basement corridors till we emerged outside and into an old bank building.  Tall and airy with windows streaming light all around the walls, it was an ideal studio. Tatimi mats on the floor and usual custom of taking one's shoes off of course, the studio had all the stuff that LS has but much more of everything of course, the beautiful wooden rules in all lengths, the 'rosary' beads used for polishing the back of the fibres of the paper on the scrolls  and great rolling drying boards.  On these boards was the latest work in hand, suffice it to say it was one of the old 'pillow' books, Japanese erotica, but passing the subject matter of the pictures, the patterns of the kimonos were very pretty for a patchwork enthusiast ;).
As LS had started the studio years back bringing back to England much of the stuff  is still there (like the great work benches for instance), there is a certain reverence when he makes an appearance (well that is what he says), and the nature of conservation in this field is so limited, that you can count experts on one hand. 
The museum itself was, as always, very crowded with many parties of schoolchildren there as well, and as always we were glad to escape London in the late afternoon and back on the train home, our friends are now staying in London till they come to visit us again next week. It was good to meet Keisuke again, who took us around and now is the main conservator in the studio.  Though how long he will stay in this country with two young children under three years of age and his wife,  they all live in a one bedroom flat in London not the most happy arrangements for any family.

The Battersea Shield

A great cauldron

The flesh hook

Gold  ornaments


  1. So beautiful. I'm busy reading up on the Saxon. It seems amazing that they create such fine works of art, but to them they were everyday things. It seems sad we have lost such skills.

  2. What always interests me is that people like the Romans and even the Saxons seemed to always gather in these remote, cold, barren places - Hadrian's wall up near us is another example.
    Their skill in making ornaments and utensils was every bit as good as ours today considering the materials and tools they had to work with.
    Really enjoyed your photographs.

  3. Ah, I remember that Flesh Hook and its bevy of ducky-daddles! perhaps they were a favourite regular meal (like salmon and oysters were, an everyday equivalent of say, pasta or stir fry today!)

    The Rillaton cup is so beautiful. It just shows how the focuses of the landscape have changed over time, although I have to say that I have always been drawn to nature's more desolate spots. Am I right in thinking that the crumpled cup is going to be left crumpled, and not restored?

    How lovely to be in LS's workshop, which must be such a special place for him and his rare talents.

  4. Hi Paula, don't forget the Saxon Princess at Loftus, she would have been a contemporary of Saint Hilda.

  5. Hi Weaver of Grass, did take photos of the captions as well, so might put a few more up, when I get it sorted. Remember years and years ago, the cold Hadrian's Wall, it must have been so bleak for those soldiers that came from a warmer climate.

  6. Hi Jennie, have answered you with a couple of photos, the deeper you dig the more fascinating the subject becomes.....