I have been amazed by all the support and favourable comments from people about my new website. Yes, it still needs some work – a number of people have said that I should have some pictures on the site (although quite what of I am not sure yet), and I really need to get into the habit of refreshing the content and/or writing a blog more often, but so far…. so good!
So today I have been honoured with an amazing quote from Howard Goodall (although I have written back to him to check that he really had the right Bridget Whyte in mind when he wrote it) and thought that perhaps I might also add a new blog post to the site as well.
At the end of last week I was invited to attend the opening of a new exhibition at the Horniman Museum in South East London. I am still not quite sure how I was put on the guest list, but it was an honour to be there and to see the museum’s extensive existing instrument collection as well as the newly installed exhibition of instruments from the Victoria and Albert Museum which have been moved there.
Entitled The Art of Harmony the exhibition explores and brings together instruments from the two collections as well as exploring how they were displayed through the ages and the way in which instruments are researched, cared for and exhibited. It’s definitely worth the trip out of central London (just 15 minutes from London Bridge by overground train and then a short walk up the hill from Forest Hill Station) and there are other collections and a beautiful garden to explore too.
There was a picture in the exhibition of the V&A instrument collection back in the mid 1900s. It must have been moved from a large room to the small round(?) gallery later on, but I still remember as a child exploring the drawers and cupboards you pulled out to reveal tiny violins and aptly shaped serpents and said as much to one of the Horniman Museum curators. ‘Did you know they put the instruments in the cupboards and drawers so that people would not be too intimidated by so many instruments on display?’ she whispered. How things have changed…. down in the perminent Horniman Museum’s collection the instruments are packed into display cabinets like the Victorians displayed birds in glass domes! A real treasure trove of musical delights – I only wished I could have hit a few of the drums, plucked the odd violin and had a go on the two pre-war bassoons, one French system and one German, both made by Boosey and Hawkes.