Sunday, 20 March 2016

Days Out In London: The Horniman Museum

Hmmmm!  Now there's a name where you might expect me to come out with a whole load of Carry On-esque innuendo  but oh no!  I'm going to set aside puerile humour and prove to you all that I'm a grown up.  Yesterday I took a car ride and four trains for a trip to Forest Hill, an unfamiliar corner of South East London.  My first meet up with fellow Essex girl Aril from Gnat Bottomed Towers was a huge success so we thought we'd plan more.   The Horniman Museum with its mixture of ethnological artefacts, musical instruments and stuffed animals seemed just the place for us to indulge our shared love of the eclectic.  It's housed in this amazing Arts and Crafts style building.  Isn't that curvy clock tower brilliant?  Oh Lord  a strong irresistible urge has come over me.  Don't those things on top of it look like willies? Horniman - Horny Man!  Geddit!!!!!!!

Right, it's probably better that it's out of my system.  We'll move on.  I forgot to mention that there's also a collection of sundials in the beautiful grounds.  A stained glass one high in the wall of a gorgeous ironwork conservatory has to be my favourite. The arm of the dial, the gnomon, situated outside creates a shadow that can be seen on the inside of the building.  Very clever!

Aril was more clued up than me.  She knew that the museum's most famous exhibit was a real live merman!  Well actually he's not alive at all but dead - and stuffed.  And disappointingly he's not real either but was cobbled together, perhaps by some jokey Japanese fisherman, from the head of a monkey and the back of a fish.  It's starting to sound like a witches spell.  He was quite hard to find and we had to ask.  A friendly museum guide directed us to the bottom of a dim display case.  Apparently we were lucky to see him at all. Seemingly he gets bored and goes off to tour other museums when whim takes him.   Most pictures  are taken from the side to show off his tail but I'm particularly taken by my own photo.  The flash caused his mouth to glow in a ghostly manner.  Woooooo!

Here's a badly photographed stuffed octopus.  I need him because when I've finished my long awaited linocut of hares, one of his kind is next on the list. It won't be long.  Work is again in progress.

Let's have a bit of colour shall we? The last two shots have been a bit gloomy in tone.  There you go!  This voodoo shrine will do nicely.

Follow the link to Aril's blog if you want a bit of sensible commentary on our visit.  She said that she was going to write a post or two about what we saw.  Alternatively the catalogue of the collection on the museum's website is rather excellent.  I'll leave you with a shot of these little men.  Just like those adornments on the clock tower they're a bit phallic as well. Snigger!


  1. I might need to do some research on the museum I'm not quite clear what it is a museum of, but looks like a visit would led itself to a lot of conversation.

    1. It's so worth a trip, not just for the exhibits but the beautiful architecture. x

  2. I think if I went there I'd get the heebeegeebees!!