Thursday, December 8, 2011

From Medieval to Morris

Last week, visited dear friend Jen Parrish in Boston and one outing was to see MAKING HISTORY: ANTIQUARIES IN BRITAIN at the McMullen Museum, Boston College. It was glorious early-winter weather on the collegiate Gothic campus, filling me with endless delight — so much so, I now feel I dreamed most of it.

One highlight (at least for me) of the collection included seeing this box!!! The back was open showing wooden drawers that pulled out and an extra key (amazing not lost in the pages of time) - one was in the front lock. Larger than I imagined - about a foot wide.

Medieval-style jewel casket belonging to Jane Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882) and Elizabeth Siddal (1829–1862), c 1859, wood bound with studded iron bands
Society of Antiquaries of London, Kelmscott Manor 202

This St. Catherine wall hanging was over the staircase going down to the second level of the exhibit space, hanging beside one of Morris' acanthus leaf wall hangings. Some areas are in relief, giving dimension to the details of garment and tree, positively glowing on the bronze velvet.

In addition, woodcuts illuminating Morris' Kelmscott press pages were on display with his own tools — beautifully simple, oak-handled stamps used for book binding decoration. A Burne-Jones cartoon for stained glass in a special Gothic-edged frame, Pugin architectural and furniture drawings were also breathtaking. Other works in this dreamlike landscape include a copy of the Magna Carta, the Lindsey Psalter, an enamel on copper Becket Casket, a gorgeous wood panel diptych of St. Paul's Cathedral and last, but not least - Edward Burne-Jones' tiles for The Legend of Good Wimmen.

No photography was allowed, so I made up for it outdoors, stunned by the ornamentation and Gothic spires of this place. 

This is the McMullen Museum!

St. Mary's Hall

Certainly not as ornate, but this reminds me a bit of Watts Chapel, Compton. The interior of the chapel was so dark, I couldn't see this with the naked eye, so I pointed the camera and got lucky.
Facade of St. Mary's
After drinking in all this beauty, Jen took me to The Publick House - yet another Gothic/Medieval-infused space with great pub fare (we had goat cheese + grape salad), washed down with dark ale and perfect company. Thank you once again.


  1. Fantastic. I saw the exhibition details but great to see your pictures to add to it. The goats cheese sounds good too.

  2. What an enchanted visit and outing y'all had! It's too gorgeous :)

  3. Hermes - thank you! Truly enjoyable in every way. They had an exhibit book on display - ordered one from Amazon.

  4. Jacobitess - Enchanting is the perfect description!

  5. I would loved to have seen this exhibit,the artwork on the box is simply exquisite! You must have come home, completely inspired.

  6. Jeri - it was truly fantastic and I was able to get really close to objects, separately by thin glass! Totally inspiring...