In my last blog, I wrote about the challenges of taking high-quality photographs of museum objects. Glazed paintings are particularly problematic as they reflect, especially when using a flash. I was keen to see what solution professional photographer Nick Lockett would come up with. The answer was a giant pair of black curtains! With a dash of Photoshop, of course. Note that the handsome chap behind the camera in this picture is me, along with Nick’s assistant and brother Steve; a bit cheeky considering I was just the monkey, not the organ-grinder.
Photographing the art collection was easier as I was not required to open any of the cases in The Wonders of the Peak, unlike last time. Some of those old displays were not designed for quick and easy access which is good news for museum security but bad news for photo projects. Fortunately, due to the efforts of the Derbyshire Museums Manager, Ros Westwood, the paintings live in a modern high-tech storage facility.
Most of BMAG’s art collection will be available for you to view online before much longer; improved public access is one of the main aims of the project. More of our oil paintings are already on the Public Foundation Catalogue website http://www.thepcf.org.uk/ . I particularly like this one by David Russell because it depicts the exterior of the museum with an assortment of local characters.
Talking of unusual pictures, Ros found this photo recently in a box from the Randolph Douglas collection. It is entitled In Search of Thermal Springs, Matlock Bath. Ros said it made her think of me. I have decided to take this as a compliment.
More impressive is this action shot of climbing pioneer and cave explorer, Jim Puttrell (1869 -1939). It is thanks to Puttrell that Buxton Museum has a fantastic collection of minerals.
As if these discoveries were not exciting enough, Douglas had also kept some postcards of Dicky’s Skull. What is Dicky’s Skull I hear you ask? Find out in my next blog; if you dare!