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Guest blog entry: Bryony Bartlett-RawlingsMermaids, Mermen and other fantastical creatures of the sea have featured heavily in our folklore for centuries. The first stories of mermaids appeared in Assyria in about 1000 BC. One of these earliest legends describes how the goddess Atargatis, mother of the Assyrian queen Semiramis, unintentionally killed the mortal shepherd whom she loved. Distraught, she jumped into a lake to take the form of a fish. However the water failed to completely cover her beauty; only transforming her into a fish-like form from the waist down.

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Ornament prints and contemporary art

Gombrich observed that ‘every picture owes more to other pictures painted before than it owes to nature’[1]. Designers and artists have often looked to the past for inspiration and ornament prints from all periods can be an unparalleled resource in this exercise.

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Guest blog entry: Stefano della Bella

Guest blog entry by Rebecca Wall

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A plaster cast from Cairo

Among the two-dimensional casts that will eventually be displayed in Gallery 46 – the corridor that runs between the two Cast Courts – is an interesting selection of architectural decoration from two major Islamic centres: the Alhambra in Granada, the palace built by the Nasrid rulers of Islamic Spain in the 14th century; and Cairo […]

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Update – Defining the Decorative Scheme

Continuing the process of revealing the ‘hidden gems’ of the Cast Courts, attention has recently turned towards understanding the original decorative scheme(s).  Tried and tested methods of paint sampling and analysis have been the principal tools for this work although it has also been possible to incorporate knowledge gained from contemporary reports from the 1870’s by […]

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