On Friday, I met up with my friend Dan at the British Museum – we try to hit a different museum every time I visit – for a wander and a chat. We have done the British Museum once before, but we only scratched the surface. Plus, I’m heading to Greece soon, and before I get there I want to see all the bits the Brits have stolen. In Greece, I’m expecting to find a load of little plaques that say, ‘this pot isn’t here because it’s in the British Museum’.
In the end we did more chatting than reading of display information. We may have also been distracted by a bog body (because: bog body!) and a short hunt for anything of Scythian origin (which, to be fair, is mostly research for a story I’m writing).
Also, the following neat bits:
I saw half of the collection of Lewis chessmen when I was working in Edinburgh and fell instantly in love. Particularly with a little berserker whose neatly carved teeth are chewing on the edge of his shield.
The Lewis chessmen are a collection of 93 walrus-ivory gaming pieces – mostly chess pieces – made in Trondheim, Norway, in the 12th century and found on the Isle of Lewis, part of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, in 1831.
I didn’t realize the rest (in fact, most) of the chesspieces were here at the British Museum (although, if I’d really thought about it…) and I was delighted to stumble across them. They have so much character in their little faces.
This noseless gentleman is the Roman emperor Augustus, who before he was emperor was Gaius Octavius Caesar, one of the triumvirate (along with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus) who ruled after the assassination of Julius Caesar.
I worked on a production of Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra not so long ago, and spent a lot of time with the fictional version of this man. It was nice to find a face to put to the name.