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In Focus

The following objects represents a selection of topical, unusual or interesting records from our collection. These records have been selected by our team of curators.

ID number:  ECM 502
Title / Object name:  Canopic jar lid
Object type:  Canopic jar
Date made:  Probably 18th Dynasty (1550-1295 BC)

Human-headed lid of a canopic jar. The figure wears a smooth blue wig; only patches of blue paint are preserved. The eyes, eyebrows and mouth are outlined with black ink.   [More Info]

BIRUG 509.1.jpg
ID number:  BIRUG 509
Title / Object name:  Dioptase
Category:  Mineralogy
Object type:  Silicate

Group of well-formed, emerald green prismatic crystals.   [More Info]

ID number:  WB-HC0427
Title / Object name:  From a Country Rectory by John Kenrick Nettlefold
Category:  Book
Object type:  Book
Artist / Maker:  Nettlefold, John Kenrick
Date made:  1958

From a Country Rectory by John Kenrick Nettlefold, Rector of Bourton-on-the-Water. Son of John and Margaret Nettlefold.   [More Info]

ID number:  BIRBI-R0941
Title / Object name:  Aureus
Category:  Numismatics
Object type:  Coin
Artist / Maker:  Claudius; Rome
Place made:  Rome
Date made:  AD 49-50

Obverse: Head of Claudius, r. wearing laurel. Reverse: inscription worn away, on architrave of triumphal arch surmounted by equestrian statue l., r. extended l. holding spear, between two trophies.   [More Info]

ID number:  BIRBI-42.4
Title / Object name:  The Age of Bronze
Category:  Visual art
Object type:  Sculpture
Artist / Maker:  Rodin, Auguste (1840-1917)
Place made:  Brussels
Date made:  1877

The Age of Bronze was Rodin’s breakthrough sculpture when exhibited in 1877, after years of jobbing work. It was initially claimed to have been cast from life, which caused something of a scandal, but once this was refuted, the French State acquired a bronze cast and Rodin’s fortunes turned. Ultimately he became the most famous sculptor of his age and indeed lauded as the greatest since Michelangelo. Numerous casts of this model were made, both during Rodin’s lifetime and after, in various sizes. The plaster was exhibited in Brussels in 1877, as 'Le Vaincu'; then under its present title at the Paris Salon (no. 4107). It is now in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A bronze cast was shown at the Salon of 1880 (no. 6640). There are numerous other bronze casts of various sizes and periods but the present one is likely to have been made before Rodin's death. An autograph drawing of the composition, of c. 1880, is in the Louvre.   [More Info]

ID number:  BIRRC-A0952
Title / Object name:  Portrait of Noel Coward
Category:  Visual art
Object type:  Painting
Artist / Maker:  Dane, Clemence (1888-1965)
Date made:  1930s

Noel Coward was an actor, singer, playwright, composer and entertainer of genius. In this portrait we see him smiling and seated at his piano, composing the score for his 1954 musical After the Ball. Unusually we know the date of the picture, from Coward’s diaries in Special Collections: ‘Monday 23rd November 1953… ‘Winnie has started a painting of me sitting at the piano; I hammered out two melodies while Winnie bashed away.’ Winnie was Winifred Ashton, the English novelist and playwright who worked under the pseudonym ‘Clemence Dane’. She and Coward were close friends, with a relationship that can be sensed in the informal and playful feel of the portrait. Coward rather mischievously liked to refer to Dane as ‘a gallant old girl’. The two further likenesses of Coward by Clemence Dane, an oil and a bronze bust, are housed in the National Portrait Gallery.
Special Collections is home to the Noel Coward Archive, comprising drafts of plays, films, short stories, music, photographs, audio and visual recordings, correspondence, diaries and journals.   [More Info]