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An interesting object to the curious

June 30, 2009 The Collection 7 Comments

This key, seen in Hazel’s pics earlier, is inscribed ‘Weeks’ Museum, Tichborne Street’. It’s a little thing, something to wind up a clock maybe? With a curious inscription. So I idly googled it, thinking I wouldn’t get anywhere. Wrong. Here is some information about Thomas Weeks, ‘perfumer and machinist’ and his museum of mechanical models, founded in 1797 in Tichborne Street, London. Visitors paid half a crown to view the exhibits and could order examples of the objects on show, designed by Weeks and made in the workshops of leading craftsmen nearby.
The Picture of London in 1802 says: ‘This Museum, on the plan of the celebrated Mr. Cox’s(?), when complete, will form an interesting object to the curious. The grand room, which is 107 feet long, and 30 feet high, is covered entirely with blue satin, and contains a variety of figures, which exhibit the effects of mechanism in an astonishing manner.’

It seems the museum had not yet opened as it continues: ‘Previous to its opening, by way of specimen, two temples are exhibited, nearly seven feet high, supported by sixteen elephants, embellished with seventeen hundred pieces of jewellery, in the first style of workmanship’. These temples were in fact ‘two magnificent clocks, engaged for the Emperor of China, at nine thousand pounds’.

Other attractions included mechanical models of a bird of paradise and a tarantula spider; the latter was ‘formed of steel’ and ‘darts out by itself from a box . . . and, in fact, performs all the appropriate movements of the insect which it represents’.

A key to what then?

Mary Greg’s keys

June 26, 2009 The Collection 5 Comments

I was so excited at seeing the keys, I neglected to take many photos.
These are are amongst my favourites.

Drawer of keys

June 23, 2009 The Collection 3 Comments

I finally have a day to think about my own work.
We first visited the Bygones collection in 2006.
The room was full of metal cabinets and it was a very exciting moment when we opened the drawer full of keys.
The thing that was so exciting for me, was that most of the keys were quite ordinary, used everyday for years.
Folding keys, engraved keys and keys that looked they locked something very heavy and important.
The pencil holders I made since are influenced by the rows of various sized keys, but I still need to do them justice.

Quizzing Glasses

June 18, 2009 The Collection 3 Comments

When we found these in Mary’s collection, I thought they were wonderful objects and had never heard them called quizzing glasses before.
A tool to look at things quizically..