Thursday 27 June 2013

Museum Serendipity

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford had a very extensive renovation a few years ago, including some pretty major architectural work to open up the galleries and create a sense of connection between different collections and time periods.  This is all very interesting and worthy and, when wandering around the main galleries, the whole place seemed utterly transformed from how I remembered it as as student.  So what followed was quite odd and I can only attribute to the power of habit.

After exploring the new galleries, I took the (new) lift upstairs, turned right, then left, and with hitherto unknown homing instincts made my unerring way through a series of smaller galleries to this door:

This, my loves, is the Library of Western Art where I used to spend many happy hours looking at plates of Giotto's Arena Chapel frescoesDuccio's Maesta and other delights.

Sadly, I now no longer have a reader's ticket and one of the attendants was looking somewhat suspiciously at me, so I ducked into the nearest side gallery - which turned out to be a gem.

My recent trip to Amsterdam had given me a new appreciation of Delft tiles - and here was a whole gallery filled with the English equivalent.

I ran my fingers over the glazed niche,

admired the pithy sentiments on the tableware,

and considered the neighbouring kings.

I exited the museum past some more old favourites and left with a new appreciation for the Ashmolean, delighted that they've managed to renovate while keeping some pockets of eccentricity.

No comments:

Post a Comment