Museum news from London, Edinburgh, Liverpool, and Glastonbury

The latest on exhibitions, acquisitions, and key decisions.

Gathering Light tour announced

The British Museum has announced the full schedule of a ‘Spotlight Loan’ tour exploring the cosmology of Bronze Age Britain, and the importance of solar imagery during this period.

IMAGE: © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Gathering Light stars a Bronze Age gold pendant, or ‘bulla’, found in Shropshire and featured in CA 349 (pictured above). It is accompanied by a lunula (crescent-shaped collar) and another bulla, both from Ireland, as well as the never-before-lent Towednack hoard, which was discovered in Cornwall in 1931.

Supported by the Dorset Foundation, the objects are currently at the Royal Cornwall Museum (until 5 November) and will then travel to The Collection, Lincoln (11 November 2022 – 20 February 2023), Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens (25 February – 3 June 2023), and Museum nan Eilean, Stornoway (13 June – 16 September 2023). See www.britishmuseum.org/exhibitions/gathering-light-bronze-age-golden-sun for more information about the tour.

Return of the Gods

The World Museum in Liverpool has announced a major upcoming exhibition exploring the legends of ancient Greek and Roman deities through its collections of Classical sculpture and antiquities.

The statues were originally collected by the 18th-century antiquarian Henry Blundell of Sefton, and will be presented not just as artworks, but as an entry point into a world where the gods depicted were an important part of everyday life. 

Return of the Gods: Zeus, Athena, Hercules will highlight the stories and characters of the Olympian gods, and explain how Greek deities were adopted by the Romans, and how they were worshipped publicly and in private. It will run 10 February-16 July 2023; see www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/returnofthegods for more details.  

Bird fossil collection acquired

A collection of over 700 bird fossils has been bequeathed to National Museums Scotland. Dating from 54-56 million years ago, the fossils reflect early stages in the evolution of modern birds, and are believed to include as many as 50 species that are new to science.

The specimens had been collected over decades by amateur palaeontology enthusiast Michael Daniels, who discovered the fossils in the London Clay, which had eroded out of the cliffs at Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex. Daniels died last year, aged 90, and the collection is now undergoing conservation and preservation work at the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh, where it will be kept and made accessible to researchers. Two papers have already been published describing new species, one being a falcon-like bird, the other being a diver or loon.

Glastonbury Bible page on display

A double-sided page from a Bible written 800 years ago by monks at Glastonbury Abbey has gone on public display in the UK for the first time, at the place it was created.

IMAGE: © The University of Bristol Special Collections.

The vellum page features ornate decoration and colourful illuminated letters; its Latin text gives the beginning of the Old Testament Books of Chronicles. It has been loaned by Bristol University, who bought it at auction in 2020 after the Bible was broken up and sold by a private owner in the 1980s – since then, pages have been rediscovered around the world, including at the Cleveland Museum of Art in the United States, while the majority have been acquired and rebound by Oslo Cathedral School in Norway.

The page will be on display at Glastonbury Abbey until 2 October. For more information, see www.glastonburyabbey.com/blogs/the-glastonbury-bible-project/the-glastonbury-bible-fragment.php