My Ashmolean
My Museum

My Ashmolean, My Museum is a photographic campaign produced in collaboration with high profile individuals and members of the local community. Each portrait - designed, art directed and photographed by Theo Chalmers - tells a unique story about the Ashmolean’s renowned collections of art and archaeology and the sitter’s relationship with the object.

The photographs convey the spirit and excitement of the new Museum building, in the lead up to the grand opening in November 2009. Our thanks go to all the individuals who have generously given their time and support to this campaign.

Special thanks to project manager Susie Gault, Head of Press and Publicity at The Ashmolean Museum.

Touring exhibition - Photographic campaign.

Bettany Hughes

Bettany Hughes (Historian) with lekythos, decorated with a winged Nike, c. 500 BC

A Nike with a natural unsystematic beauty, W.B.Yeats

A historian of ancient Greece and Rome, Bettany Hughes is pictured holding a lekythos (oil container) dating to the 5th century BC. Decorated with a winged Nike (Goddess of Victory), W.B. Yeats enthused about the vase: “I recall a Nike at the Ashmolean Museum with a natural unsystematic beauty”.

As an Oxford student, Bettany was inspired by the power and beauty of the Ashmolean’s collections from the ancient world.

My name means light

Ailena Koudoua with the Mosque Lamp, c. 1300s

My name means light

Ailena’s name comes from the Greek word light. She sits next to a mosque lamp, which is inscribed on the side with the name Muhammad ibn Qala’un, the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. Rows of similar lamps would have been used to decorate mosques and tombs of the sultans and their senior officials. The techniques of enamelling and gilding on glass developed in Syria in the 12th century, reaching Egypt in the 13th and 14th centuries. Thus, the traditional form of a hanging lamp was transformed from a plain transparent vessel into an object of great splendour and beauty.

West Meets East

Sir Ben Kingsley (Actor) with a standing Buddha from Gandhara, c. AD 200

West meets East

Sir Ben Kingsley has played characters from both East and West in his distinguished career, most famously in the role of Gandhi. Here he is shown holding a loaf of bread and a bowl of rice, signifying the cultural differences of the continents and the links between them, a theme the Museum’s new display strategy will illustrate.

In the background is a statue of a standing Buddha from Gandhara (northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan). In the early centuries AD, this region had become a strong centre both for Buddhism and for Western artistic influence. This figure combines classical influences in the Buddha’s face and drapery with traditional Indian iconography such as the gesture of the raised right hand, bestowing protection and dispelling fear.

One of Canaletto

Philip Pullman (Author) with a View of Dolo on the Brenta Canal by Canaletto, c. 1732–35

One of Canaletto’s incomparable depictions of everyday life

“In the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford there is a painting by Canaletto showing one of his incomparable depictions of everyday life,” wrote Philip Pullman in the opening paragraph of his article for the Guardian, Dark Deeds along the Tow Path. The painting depicts the Brenta Canal, gateway to Venice for visitors arriving from the north. His reference to the painting relates to Oxford’s Castle Mill Boatyard, which inspired His Dark Materials, and the campaign to save the boatyard from development. The photographer, Theo Chalmers, used six freshwater pike in the photograph to represent the everyday life of the river.

Lady from Gandhara, crossroads of Asia

Christina Lamb (Journalist) with a female figure from Gandhara, c. AD 200–300

Lady from Gandhara, crossroads of Asia

The renowned foreign correspondent Christina Lamb wears a flak jacket, part of her field kit when reporting the news from Afghanistan. She holds a figure of a lady from Gandhara, the ancient kingdom which included northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Carved in schist, this figure is a fragment from a narrative relief panel which would have adorned a Buddhist temple or stupa. It combines Greco-Roman influence in its finely delineated drapery with the full, sensuous forms which accord with Indian ideals of beauty. Gandhara became a major cultural crossroads from the time of its conquest by Alexander the Great (327 BC), and the region has remained so into modern times.

Flowering branch reaches far

Jung Chang (Author) with Chinese pilgrim vase, c. 1730

Flowering branch reaches far

Jung Chang became one of the world’s most successful authors following the publication of Wild Swans in 2001. Plotting the story of three generations of women in Jung’s family, and the epic upheavals in China during the 20th century, Wild Swans represented a major new insight into Chinese history in the west.
Jung is shown here with a large 18th-century porcelain bottle decorated with an underglaze painting of a bird on a flowering branch. For centuries Europeans have known China through the exotic beauty and peerless craft of artworks such as this. However we are continually deepening our appreciation of the rich and complicated culture which produced the treasures in our custody.

One of the artist

Raymond Blanc (Chef) with Still Life of Asparagus by Adriaen Coorte, 1683–1707

One of the artist’s favourite themes

Michelin starred Chef, Raymond Blanc, at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, relishes in the favourite theme of the Dutch artist Adriaen Coorte, whose painting of asparagus hangs in the background.
Typically, the artist has isolated his motif and painted it with a refined touch and subtle combination of soft green and purple. Coorte painted asparagus in twelve known paintings, mostly in combination with other fruit. Only two others in the series show the bundle of asparagus isolated on a ledge like this: one in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, one in the Fitzwilliam, Cambridge.

Cranmer watched from prison as flames consumed their bodies. His turn to die a martyr was yet to come.

Laurence Fox (Actor) with Cranmer’s Band, c. 1550

Cranmer watched from prison as flames consumed their bodies. His turn to die a martyr was yet to come.

Laurence Fox and Kevin Whately, from ITV’s Lewis, and Colin Dexter, author of Inspector Morse, illustrate Oxford’s dark history of crime and punishment. They are pictured holding Cranmer’s Band, the Manacle and the Bocardo Prison Key, objects used to imprison the Oxford Martyrs in the Saxon tower on Cornmarket. Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were incarcerated for their Protestant faith under the Catholic rule of Queen Mary, and burnt at the stake on Broad Street, Oxford, in 1555–6.

Colin Dexter (Author) with Manacle

Colin Dexter (Author) with Manacle, c. 1656

Latimer said, “Play the man; we shall this day by God’s grace, light such a torch in England as will never be put out”

Colin Dexter, author of Inspector Morse and Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox, from ITV’s Lewis, illustrate Oxford’s dark history of crime and punishment. They are pictured holding the Manacle, Cranmer’s Band and the Bocardo Prison Key, objects used to imprison of the Oxford Martyrs in the Saxon tower on Cornmarket. Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were incarcerated for their Protestant faith under the Catholic rule of Queen Mary, and burnt at the stake on Broad Street, Oxford, in 1555–6.

Kevin Whately (Actor) with the Bocardo Prison Key

Kevin Whately (Actor) with the Bocardo Prison Key, c. 1550

Cranmer said “I have sinned in what I signed with my hand what I did not believe with my heart”

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox, from ITV’s Lewis, and Colin Dexter, author of Inspector Morse, illustrate Oxford’s dark history of crime and punishment. They are pictured holding the Bocardo Prison Key, Cranmer’s Band and the Manacle, objects used to imprison the Oxford Martyrs in the Saxon tower on Cornmarket. Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were incarcerated for their Protestant faith under the Catholic rule of Queen Mary, and burnt at the stake on Broad Street, Oxford, in 1555–6.

Maggi Hambling (Artist) with Portrait of Francis Bacon

Maggi Hambling (Artist) with Portrait of Francis Bacon by Maggi Hambling, 1985

One pair of eyes meets another

The artist Maggi Hambling is photographed in a ‘double portrait’ with the picture she painted of Francis Bacon, now in the Ashmolean’s collections. In this striking artistic moment, two of the country’s greatest figurative painters are captured together in one image. Hambling was the first Artist in Residence at the National Gallery in London in 1980–81. Her admiration for Francis Bacon (1909– 1992), one of the greatest English painters of the human figure in the 20th century, is celebrated in this portrait.

Imhotep, God of healing and medicine

Hugh Quarshie (Actor) with the statue of the Egyptian God Imhotep, c. 600 BC

Imhotep, God of healing and medicine

Hugh Quarshie, who plays consultant general surgeon Ric Griffin in BBC1’s Holby City, is pictured taking on the life-force of Imhotep, god of healing and medicine, his powers evoked through the ankh-sign on his chest, the Egyptian hieroglyph for life.
Imhotep was an actual person, reportedly the architect of the first great stone building in Egypt, the funerary complex of King Djoser (c. 2600 BC). He was subsequently deified and worshipped as a god with the powers of a healer. This bronze statuette was made about 2000 years after the real Imhotep’s lifetime, at the height of his popularity in Egypt.

Gabriella Youngs Do Patrocinio with Ballet Dancer

Gabriella Youngs Do Patrocinio (Oxford resident) with Ballet Dancer by Degas, c. 1900

I love the ballet

Gabriella is 5 years old. She takes ballet lessons after school and this is her favourite activity. She was delighted to find out that the Ashmolean houses iconic works of art depicting the ballet. She is shown here with a bronze cast of Degas’s Ballet Dancer Looking at the Sole of her Foot.

Haremi Kudo with Waterfall Vase

Haremi Kudo (Design teacher) with Waterfall Vase by Namikawa Yasuyuki, c.1910–1915

The Perfection of colour

Haremi Kudo teaches design at the Chelsea College of Art & Design, having worked in architecture, set design, and fashion modelling. He is shown with a vase by the Japanese artist-craftsman Yasuyuki, made in Kyoto at the end of the artist’s career – the product of skills perfected over a lifetime.
The vase is cloisonné enamel – powdered glass fused onto metal. The colours are separated by fine metal strips and the flawless surface is achieved by repeated firings and polishing. The harmony between the design, the craftsmanship and the pure colour is an exceptional achievement.

Angela Palmer (Artist) with an Egyptian boy mummy

Revealing...
...the extraordinary hidden form

Angela Palmer is pictured with a child mummy from the Museum’s Egyptian collections. The little boy died about 1900 years ago, and was found in a cemetery excavated south of Cairo in 1888. He captured Angela’s interest while she was working on representations of the human form. In a groundbreaking collaboration in 2007, the mummy, accompanied by the artist and museum staff, was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital, where a series of CT scans were made by the radiologists. These astounding images allowed Angela to build a 3D recreation of the little body by drawing details from the scans onto multiple sheets of glass. The work was exhibited in London with the mummy in 2008.

Vishali Jivan (Consultant) with the statue of Siddha

Vishali Jivan (Consultant) with the statue of Siddha, c. AD 900

Accomplished

Siddha is an aspect of Devi (the Goddess) who is associated with the iguana (seen on the base of this bronze). She is four-armed and holds a rosary, fire and a spouted jar in three of her hands. Her lower right hand makes the gesture (mudra) of beneficence. This bronze was made in eastern India (Bihar or Bengal) around AD 900. The Ashmolean is grateful to Wesley Prowton who has kindly let his iguana, Fonzy, take part in this photograph.

Olivier DaySoul (Musician) with the Ginny Drum

Olivier DaySoul (Musician) with the Ginny Drum, c. 1656

1656: The definitive old skool

Oxford-based singer and songwriter, Olivier DaySoul, presents an African drum from the Tradescant collection, first catalogued in 1656. Made of wood and elephant skin, this drum is the oldest surviving example of its type.

Luca Abarno (Oxford resident) with the sacred ram of the Egyptian god Amon-Re, c. 680 BC

Life, Stability, Power

Luca’s preferred subject is the Egyptians, which he has learnt about on visits to the Ashmolean with his school and family. Wearing his rugby kit, he stands in front of a granite Ram, one of a pair from the temple of Amon-Re, a god of the Kushites. The temple was built by King Tahaarqa, greatest builder of the 25th-Dynasty in 680 BC, and dedicated to Amon-Re, to whom the Ram was sacred. Inside the temple stood Tahaarqa’s shrine, now in the Ashmolean. On its east face, Tahaarqa’s succeeding King, Aspelta, stands before Amon-Re receiving symbolic life, stability and power.

Bob Johnson with Miniature of Augusta

Bob Johnson (Picture framer for the Ashmolean) with Miniature of Augusta, Princess of Wales, c. 1736

The music has not been identified...

Bob has framed hundreds of pictures, large and small, during his career at the Ashmolean. He’s shown here surrounded by frames from our store rooms, holding a miniature which speaks to his real passion in life, music. Miniatures like this were painted as gifts or tokens for loved ones. This fine example is one of the beautifully crafted charms which you can find in the Ashmolean’s Western Art collections. Bob’s off-duty activities – making a huge sound on the harmonica in his band Mofo – are a remarkable contrast to his life at work where he uses finely honed skills, expertly caring for delicate objects like this one.

Izzy Nicolson with wardrobe

Izzy Nicolson (Oxfordshire resident) with wardrobe decorated by Edward Burne Jones, c. 1859

To study nature attentively

Izzy, with her long wavy hair, strikes a modern-day Pre-Raphaelite pose. She sits in front of the wardrobe which Edward Burne-Jones gave to his friend William Morris on the occasion of the latter’s wedding. The scene on the cabinet illustrates the Prioress’s Tale from Chaucer and shows the essentials of the Pre-Raphaelite’s style – the expression of genuine ideas and a close study of nature.

Indira Joshi (Actress) with A Court Beauty

Indira Joshi (Actress) with A Court Beauty, a painting on cloth attributed to Chokha, c. 1810 (Lent by Sir Howard Hodgkin)

The Prince’s favourite beauty

Indira Joshi has performed many roles, dramatic and comic, in her career in theatre, television and film. She has become most widely known in the role of the motherly and ingenuous Madhuri Kumar in the BBC series The Kumars at No. 42. Here she plays both the tiny prince and the court beauty in the Indian artist Chokha’s large painting, executed in gouache on cloth. Chokha was a very individual painter, known for his humorous reinterpretations of conventional pictorial themes.

Brian Malin (Oxfordshire resident) with the Domitianus coin

Brian Malin (Oxfordshire resident) with the Domitianus coin, c. AD 271

My discovery… Their lost Emperor (Chalgrove 2003)

Brian Malin, who has been searching for treasures with his metal detector for 20 years, discovered a small clay pot filled with 4957 coins fused together, on farmland near Chalgrove, Oxfordshire, in 2003. He poses here with the base silver coin that inspired global interest and national pride. Dated c. AD 271, it bears the face of a bearded man, the name Domitianus and the three letters ‘IMP’. The rediscovery of the Emperor Domitianus, who ruled over Gaul and Britain for probably just a few days, has rewritten Roman history.

Robert Youngs Do Patrocinio with Chinese lacquer box

Robert Youngs Do Patrocinio (Oxford resident) with Chinese lacquer box, by Wanli, 1573–1619)

Ming Dynasty, 1619

Robert goes to the Dragon School. In his portrait, he has been magically transformed into a dragon child. Showing off his fighting spirit, he breaks free from the dragon’s box of flames…
The box is decorated with a dragon and flowers, motifs that are common to fine objects from the late Ming dynasty. Peonies surround the edge of the lid, representing the summer. Lacquer objects take a long time to make, as several layers are applied to the object’s base, each taking a long time to dry. The Ashmolean houses one of the finest collections of Chinese art in Europe, ranging from Neolithic jades to contemporary paintings.

Paddy Summerfield (Photographer) with The Valley of the Bright Cloud

Paddy Summerfield (Photographer) with The Valley of the Bright Cloud by Samuel Palmer, 1825

…a Paradise without a God, Samuel Palmerbr

Paddy Summerfield’s photography reflects a world of lost souls and solitude. He is inspired by the work of Samuel Palmer, many of whose paintings and sepia drawings are housed in the Ashmolean. Holding an empty bird’s nest, he stands in front of a pen and ink landscape drawing by Palmer. The scene is void of human figures but the church in the background evokes a human presence. Palmer wrote “Landscape is of little value, but as it hints or expresses the haunts or doings of man. However gorgeous, it can be but Paradise without an Adam. Take away its churches where for centuries the pure word of God has been read to the poor… and you have a frightful kind of Paradise left – a Paradise without a God”.

Laurie and Ted Green with fragments of ancient Greek pots

Laurie and Ted Green (Oxfordshire residents) with fragments of ancient Greek pots

The things they left behind

Laurie and Ted enjoy discovering and handling the ancient ceramic sherds that had previously been buried in the ground for thousands of years. Visitors will be able to take part in object handling sessions and to learn more about the role of archaeologists in the Ashmolean’s new Education Centre.

Rick Mather (Architect) with architectural model & building materials from the old and new Ashmolean

Rick Mather (Architect) with architectural model & building materials from the old and new Ashmolean

The New Ashmolean, making complex things look easy.

Rick Mather is the creative force behind the transformation of the Ashmolean Museum. His masterplan to the north of the original neo-classical building, designed by Charles Cockerell in 1845, will feature 39 new galleries, a rooftop cafe and a new education centre. His other high-profile developments include Dulwich Picture Gallery, and the Wallace Collection; National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, USA, and, closer to home, the Sloane Robinson and ARCO buildings at Keble College and the new auditorium at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

Mitsuko Watanabe (Ashmolean research assistant) & her daughter Nanako Grace Ito-ch’en with the Stag and Doe, c.1680

Mitsuko Watanabe carries out research in the Eastern Art department’s fine Japanese print collections. She pays tribute to the curators who care for our cultural heritage and inspire future generations with displays and catalogues. The pair of Japanese porcelain figures of a stag, with its raised head, and a doe, illustrates her respect for Dr Oliver Impey, who looked after and enriched the Japanese collections during his 40 years’ career at the Ashmolean.
The stag and doe are in the Kakiemon style of enamelled porcelain. The style was named after the potter Sakaida Kakiemon, who was one of the first to develop these brilliant translucent overglaze colours in the mid-1600s.

Joey Ansah (Actor) with reliquary casket

Joey Ansah (Actor) with reliquary casket, c. AD 1200

“Will no one rid me of this troublesome Priest?”

Henry II
Joey Ansah, who played the assassin Desh Bouksani in the film The Bourne Ultimatum presents a gilded and enamelled casket depicting the murder of Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Made in Limoges, France, this casket was almost certainly designed to hold a relic of the saint.

Helena Conceicao with a selection of watches

Helena Conceicao (Bus driver) with a selection of watches, c. 1600s–1800s

Precision movements

Helena’s job of navigating an Oxford Bus Company double-decker through the City’s busy streets shares the similar characteristics of successfully operating a pocket watch, precision movements and punctuality. The Ashmolean’s collection of watches charts the development of design and decoration from the mid 16th century to the mid 19th century, comprising examples of the art of the goldsmith, engraver, chaser, enameller and lapidary. Watches have always been special to their owners, a fact borne out by their common use as Christmas, birthday and anniversary gifts. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that it became fashionable to collect old watches. Three important collections were bequeathed to the Ashmolean in the 20th century.

Laurence Helliwell (Medical Student) with the Metrological Relief

Laurence Helliwell (Medical Student) with the Metrological Relief c. 460–430 BC

Metrological Relief: certain standard measurements

Lawrence’s portrait illustrates a timeless topic – the human body. This almost unique example of a surviving metrological relief throws some light on where this concern might have originated. The ancient Greek system of measurement was taken from a standard human scale, starting with a fathom (the span of arms), to the ell (52cm), the foot (29.7cm), down to the finger (1.85–2cm). The notion of ‘Ideal Man’ has filtered down to today through Vitruvius, Leonardo, the Romantics. The question of exact and unknown quantities, ideal specimens and the anatomy is something Lawrence will encounter every day while training to be a doctor.

Lady Chalmers (Oxford resident) with embroidery samplers, 1660 & 1699

Feather Fly Back Cross Satin Blanket

Jan Chalmers is a founder member of the Keiskamma Art Project, a charity established in 2001 in three South African villages affected by HIV/ AIDS. Jan teaches embroidery to women in the villages, who have not only helped to support their families by selling their work, but have also achieved international recognition through their creation of major art works. The Keiskamma Art Project is a model for community development.
Jan is shown here with two English samplers dated 1699 (left) and 1660 (right). They demonstrate a variety of stitches like the feather, fly, cross and blanket, and elaborate motifs. Girls and young women were taught embroidery from a young age and accomplishment in the craft was believed to be a sign of virtue and industry.

Christopher Brown (Director of the Ashmolean) with the Alfred Jewel

Christopher Brown (Director of the Ashmolean) with the Alfred Jewel (late 800s) & architectural plans by Rick Mather & Charles Cockerell

Pointing to the Future

The Alfred Jewel is one of the Ashmolean’s greatest treasures. Named in honour of King Alfred the Great, it is believed to be an aestel, or pointer, used to follow the text of a manuscript.
Christopher Brown points the Jewel towards the blue prints of the new Ashmolean building designed by Rick Mather. Behind him are the plans for Charles Cockerell’s building (c. 1841). Dr Brown came to the Ashmolean in 1998 with a strategy to develop the Museum by improving the display of its treasures and modernising its facilities. The most significant transformation in the Museum’s history since 1845 will open to the public in November 2009.

Freya Darius-Nobes Roman Bust of a Satyr

Freya Darius-Nobes (Oxfordshire resident) with the Roman Bust of a Satyr, c. AD 100–200

Cheeky Spirit

7 year-old Freya from Eynsham enjoys studying the Romans. Her visit to the Ashmolean opened up a world of discovery. Among the collection of classical sculpture she found the bust of a satyr with a child’s face, pointy ears and a mischievous smile. The Romans liked these mythical creatures, and statues of them were erected in gardens and porticoes as a model of country life. Similar to laughing maenads and centaurs, laughing Satyrs are an invention of Hellenistic art. This one in particular, captured Freya’s imagination, making her curious to learn more about the Roman world.

Michelle Thompson with plaster cast of the Bust of Michelangelo

Michelle Thompson (Visitor of the Helen & Douglas House Hospice) with plaster cast of the Bust of Michelangelo by Daniele Ricciarelli da Volterra

A hand obedient to the mind
Michelle suffers from Batten Disease, a rare genetic neurodegenerative condition which affects sight, movement and speech. She is a visitor to Helen & Douglas House in east Oxford, the world’s first hospice for children and young adults. Here she demonstrates one of the Ashmolean’s handling sessions where anyone with visual impairments can learn about the collections through the sense of touch.
“The greatest artist has no conception which a single block of marble does not potentially contain within its mass, but only a hand obedient to the mind can penetrate to this image” Michelangelo.

Diran Adebayo (Author) with a Sumerian King List

Diran Adebayo (Author) with a Sumerian King List, c. 1800 BC

Sumerian King List: Making story from History

Diran Adebayo is an award-winning novelist, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a contributor to newspapers and television. His photograph illustrates the theme of writing – the discipline closest to Diran’s heart – and he stands next to a clay ‘prism’ inscribed in cuneiform script, one of the world’s earliest writing systems.
One or more scribes from Larsa inscribed this prism in the Sumerian language, listing all the rulers of southern Iraq from the ‘creation of kingship’ in a mythical past, to the time it was written in around 1800 BC. It mixes history and legend, perhaps to show that Babylonia was always united under a single ruler. Diran put down his own thoughts on the nobility of writing on a glass panel.

Bill Heine (BBC Oxford Radio Presenter) with the sculpture of Judith and Holofernes

Bill Heine (BBC Oxford Radio Presenter) with the sculpture of Judith and Holofernes, c. 1600s

Give me strength this day

Bill Heine, host of BBC Oxford’s talk show, and owner of the ‘Headington Shark House’, has a personal affinity with the Judith and Holofernes story. In his portrait he stands in front of the Ashmolean’s 17th-century marble attributed to Francois Dieussart, which shows Judith’s triumph over the Babylonian general who had laid siege to her home town of Bethulia in Israel.
Bill’s fascinating and varied experiences in his home town of Oxford echo this ageless theme in art history: a fierce defence of one’s home and a willingness to battle for one’s beliefs. Never one for the straight-forward story, Bill challenges you to decide: is he Judith or Holofernes?

Lisa & Sarah Pobereskin with the Siren Candlesticks, c.1510–1530

Over all the generous earth we know everything that happens

"with her voice she enchants, with her beauty she deprives of reason — voice and sight alike deal destruction...". Homer’s Odyssey describes his temptation by the sirens as they sing about their knowledge of the world. The bronze candlesticks depict the singing sirens, they were sea-nymphs possessed with the power of entrancing with their song all who heard them. Portraits of the siren as a half-human female figure holding up her twin tails, derived from late Roman models, became popular once again in the Renaissance. Identical twins, Sarah and Lisa, hold the double candlestick, a typical example of the imaginative and sometimes bizarre utensils produced in North Italian workshops during the sixteenth century. The eagle’s foot was cast from a real bird’s foot.

Anna Jones with A Mill near Zaandam by Claude Monet

Anna Jones (Optometrist) with A Mill near Zaandam by Claude Monet, c. 1871

Monet is only an eye...

but what an eye!
Monet, one of the founders of the Impressionist movement, suffered greatly from cataracts towards the end of his career. As an optometrist, Anna is experienced in dealing with the effects of poor and deteriorating vision. Painted before his sight began to suffer, A Mill Near Zaandam shows the natural luminosity Monet could imply on a canvas, using the white ground for highlights and varied brush-strokes which impart the plein-air effect. From the period of 1914–23, it is believed that his paintings show a general red tone, symptomatic of cataract problems. Despite his failing eyesight, Monet went on to execute paintings considered amongst the greatest in his body of work.

Shami Chakrabarti CBE (Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University) with The Reign of Justice

Shami Chakrabarti CBE (Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University) with The Reign of Justice by Edmund Joseph Sullivan, 1917

Defend the children of the poor and punish the wrongdoer

Shami Chakrabarti stands in front of The Reign of Justice, a lithograph by EJ Sullivan. Sullivan was an important book illustrator in the late 19th Century, who influenced drawing styles of the following decades. This example is from the Museum’s Print Room, one of the world’s finest collections of works on paper.
Shami poses as Lady Justice, holding chains for oppression and a butterfly for freedom. Throughout her career and as the Director of UK human rights organisation Liberty, she has worked towards the maxim above the Old Bailey – “Defend the children of the poor…”

Hugh, Angus and William Nicolson with silver spoons

Hugh, Angus and William Nicolson (Oxfordshire residents) with silver spoons, c. 1600s

Derived from Cochlea meaning a spiral shaped snail shell

The Greek and Latin word for spoon is derived from the word cochlea meaning spiral shaped snail shell. The Museum’s collection of spoons is representative of the main forms produced in Engand during the 16th & 17th centuries, including early seal spoons, lace back trefid spoons, diamond point spoons and apostle spoons. Their usage varies from domestic utensils to decorative objects made from expensive metals for princely patrons or religious purposes, and personalised spoons engraved with initials to be used as memorials or heirlooms.

My Ashmolean

What's your favourite Ashmolean story?

My Ashmolean, My Museum is a photographic campaign produced in collaboration with high profile individuals and members of the local community. Each portrait tells a unique story about the Ashmolean’s renowned collections of art and archaeology and the sitter’s relationship with the object.The fine-art photographer, Theo Chalmers has produced the eye-catching series of portrait photographs to convey the spirit and excitement of the new Museum building, in the lead up to the grand opening in November 2009.Our thanks go to all the individuals who have generously given their time and support to this campaign.

Loading Image
Scroll Illustration

START SCROLLING

Scroll with your mouse wheel or trackpad to see more galleries.
OK!