Wednesday, November 30, 2005
In the BBC's current sublime version of Bleak House, the Brickmaker and his wife Jenny have been seen in the first couple of episodes. Jenny had just lost her baby and her husband was aggressive and threatening.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Edit: As requested by Gabriele, here is a link to the main page for Lew Wallace's Ben Hur online text.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Friday, November 18, 2005
Well worth a look is Fired Up - Celebrating Ceramics from York's Collection which is on exhibition at York Art Gallery, UK, till 15 January, 2006. Included are all sorts of tiles, including a Roman chimney, an antefix, a scored flue tile, and also later tiles such as a Polychrome Relief tile (10th-12th century), delftware tiles, and later items. There are also lots of pots, from Prehistoric to the 21st century. There's even a bathroom sink on display. In fact, the exhibition has a refreshingly broad interpretation of ceramics.
There is also a short film of three experts looking in depth at four pots - the Severus Roman head pot, a Medieval Medallion jug, Delftware charger, and a modern piece by Kate Malone called Bursting Dense Garlic Bud Life Force. Very illuminating.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Chief amongst the loveliness is a small collection of imprints. There are some good hobnail prints, but also some animal pawprints. As well as dog and sheep/goat, there was one I was uncertain about. Could it be a stoat? The prints were very faint and I had difficulty with matching it with my big book of animal prints (aka Collins Guide to Animal Tracks and Signs by Bang & Dahlstrom). Thought in might be a stoat because it was very small, though the claws didn't show, but this could be perhaps because the clay might have been fairly dry. However, the small prints could be small because of the shrinkage of clay ... Going round in cirles here. So ...
Time to call in the expert! Will Higgs has done a goodly amount of work on animal prints on tiles. He was able to say that it was in fact a cat. I was disappointed, as previously I had managed to identify stoat pawprints on a tile from Layerthorpe (see my publication report here).
Since not everyone can get hold of the excellent Will Higgs or the Bang & Dahlstrom back-up, I checked out the Web for some animal track links:
Beartracker.com - as you might suspect, this is a US site, but there are one or two animals on their list that appear in the UK. There are some good pictures of cat pawprints.
ussartf.org - good on gait patterns
Never mind, there's always another tile sample to play with! And I'll be back on a Roman one on 16th November when I teach the Brick and Tile workshop at the Yorkshire Museum. Initially, I had my eyes on the Bedern sample (see my notes on some of the cbm from this site here), but changed my mind. Bedern is a medieval sample, and all that implies - basically flaming bewildering for beginners; too many forms, way too many fabrics, plus probably residual Roman material mixed in. Nightmare!
Roman material in York tends (but not always) to have less fabrics, and a relatively limited amount of forms. So I've gone for the sample from Blake Street, York instead. It's an all singing, all dancing Roman site, dug in the 1970s and the sample's never been assessed, let alone recorded. Perhaps there'll be some animal pawprints for the beginners to find as well!