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|