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Sort of connected..Fletcher Moss Art Gallery and 2 keys

November 16, 2012 Artist Responses Comments Off on Sort of connected..Fletcher Moss Art Gallery and 2 keys

A second year Interactive Arts Student, John Lynch, has organised an exhibition at Didsbury Parsonage (Fletcher Moss Art Gallery) for this weekend. I was kindly invited to be part of it and after a whistle stop visit a month ago , where I took a number of photos of keyholes, I decided to make a special  Escutcheon to cover one of the bare key holes and commemorate some  part of the history of the Fletcher Moss Art Gallery.

Research for Escutcheon for Didsbury Parsonage.

The connection is, that Liz found this entry in the MAG archives just last week and sent me these photos.

Two keys exist in the collection, alongside Mary Greg’s keys, but donated by Alderman Fletcher Moss.

MAG records

MAG record book

Des Hughes at MAG May 2012

May 7, 2012 Artist Responses, The Collection Comments Off on Des Hughes at MAG May 2012

Quick sketch of selection of objects made and chosen by the artist Des Hughes.

I went to see a lovely exhibition in MAG of work selected from the collection by Des Hughes. There is no text in the gallery referring to the chosen objects,but I could easily pick out the ones which Mary Greg had contributed. It was refreshing to see them amongst other objects, both old and hand made, they looked at home and even more intrigueing and beautiful.





Gift of Mrs Mary Greg  1922.68





Gift of Mrs Mary Greg  1922.728


Latch lifter



Gift of Mrs Mary Greg  1922.754





Gift of Mrs Mary Greg  1922.763


Crusie Lamp



Gift of Mrs Mary Greg  1922.799




Spoon 1800s



Gift of Mrs Mary Greg  1922.841


Comb 5th or 6th century



Gift of Mrs Mary Greg  1922.1074


Whip before 1900


Iron and leather

Gift of Mrs Mary Greg  1922.1198


Thumbscrew c.1720



Gift of Mrs Mary Greg  1922.1234





Gift of Mrs Mary Greg  1922.1283


Margaux Illescas/Interactive Arts

May 8, 2011 Student Projects Comments Off on Margaux Illescas/Interactive Arts

Twenty Interactive Arts students from MMU visited Platt Hall before Easter and came up with ideas for a proposed event at Platt Hall in Autumn 2012. Margaux worked on ideas for creating a keep sake/promotional object based on the keys in Mary Greg’s collection. I will be blogging the results during the next few weeks. Hazel

“The Mary Greg Project

For this project I have chosen to focus my work on “the way to promote the Event”.

Seeing the Mary Greg key collection at Manchester Art Gallery I decided to use it in order to find an original, creative and effective way to promote this future event. Rather than making simple paper flyers I drew the same shapes as the original collection onto Illustrator in order to go to the laser cutter and make my own keys. The keys are between 10 and 15cms long but the size can be reduced. There are different prototypes in plastic and in wood. I engraved the Mary Greg website onto the keys so once people get the flyer they can directly go on the website and see what this is about. I added a catch phrase on some keys as well to attract people: “Would you like to know where this key gives you access to?”

I believe this could be a nice way to promote the event and that people would keep the flyer rather than throw it away.”

Margaux Illescas

Snippet from the letters No.7

July 5, 2010 Mary Greg, The Letters Comments Off on Snippet from the letters No.7

Four Keys from Mary Greg's collection

One of my favourite quotes from the letters…November 10th 1928

To Mr Batho from Mary Greg.

“…If a number of any set of things are put together they at once become more interesting – this is most of our collections become of any value – I began by buying a key which interested me by its fine work – a friend said ‘oh’ I have an old key I do not want you shall have it & so on until my collection as you know is a most valuable one – & so on with other things…”


Mary out in the world.

April 10, 2010 The Collection 1 Comment

This might seem a little trivial but I thought of Mary yesterday whilst shopping. I saw a necklace with lots of miss- matched keys as pendants. One even says Hope on the side of it. Something about it reminded me of her chatelaines too. I wonder what she’d think of her collection used as bling!  


Mystery Keys

July 6, 2009 Artist Responses Comments Off on Mystery Keys

Found on a boot sale in Cuddington.
The tag on these keys makes you wonder what on earth the appliance could have been!
My suspicions are that they are for a fridge…but my imagination conjures up a huge child snagging machine!!

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?

A Bumper Find of Keys

June 28, 2009 Artist Responses Comments Off on A Bumper Find of Keys

Went to a Boot sale over at Cuddington today..found all these keys on one stall…Mary would be proud.
If you want to see them better go to Alscrapmetal Blog and click on any photo, which will take you to my Flickr page.

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.