The Abbey Museum’s Black Rider

The arrival of the Black Rider

In mid-2016, the Abbey Museum finally fulfilled a long-held dream to acquire a complete medieval suit of armour to complement the existing stories of the Abbey collection of medieval artefacts.  With the support of the Abbey Museum Friends and a private donor a 16th century composite suit of breath-taking and awe-inspiring armour was purchased, painstakingly restored and finally put on display in late 2017. Dubbed the Black Rider, after the original German Schwartz Reiter, this medieval piece of history has become one of the most popular objects in the Museum’s collection.

Respect to the Black Rider

When you first see the Black Rider, you experience a moment of silence, while your eyes take it all in.  One of the most noticeable things about this suit of armour is the extensive damage to parts of the helmet and arms; this is original damage left during its time in the field (the battle field that is!). This observation indeed merits slow contemplation.  Who wore this suit and what happened?

The most striking and obvious damage to …

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Favourite things of the Abbey Museum

These are a few of our favourite things

By Jan Nargar

Most of us know that the Abbey Museum has some special items in their collection – but what do you really know about it and do you have a favourite thing?

Have you ever walked through the museum and a special object has caught your eye?  What was it?  Where did it come from?  What story does it have to tell? As staff, it happens to us all the time! Not to mention the Collection Management Team that meets regularly to research and catalogue the Museum’s artefacts – there has been lots of discusion about favourite objects. Each member of the team has particular favourites. Having so many incredible artefacts in the collection we are spoiled for choice.  So, listed below are a few of our our favourite things!

Guess whose favourite thing?

A tiny Chinese snuff bottle with a painting on the inside!  Truly! A beautiful painting of a crane in a landscape scene delicately painted inside the bottle. It is in Museum Case 26. How was that …

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GAMAA awards

Abbey Museum is GAMAA award winner

The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology wins GAMAA award

3rd November 2017

The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology was last night announced as a winner and a finalist at the GAMAA awards.  The awards – Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards – are presented annually to honour the achievements of individuals and organisations in striving towards excellence in the museum and gallery industry.

With six categories for organisations, (including projects, engagement and sustainability) and two for individuals, the Abbey Museum was proudly announced as a finalist for engagement in the organisational category and also as a winner in the individual awards for volunteer staff.

The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology is situated near in the Moreton Bay town of Caboolture, an hour north of Brisbane and is one of Brisbane’s most unique museums. It has one of the finest collections of European and Classical artefacts open to the public in Australia. The Museum’s collection includes prehistoric artefacts, ceramics, glass, stained glass, metalwork, woodwork, lacquer, sculptures, manuscripts and rare books, Renaissance and Baroque paintings, water colours, icons and frescos. The collection …

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Abbey Museum Stained Glass Tours - medieval shield

Gregorian Peace at the Abbey Museum

Gregorian Chanting – take a breather this Advent

Close your eyes and be transported back to the Middle Ages where monks in hooded robes chant their divine offices in the candle lit sanctuary of a Church.  This is not a scene from centuries past, but instead the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology in Caboolture, brings the past to you in the form of Gregorian Chanting!

Traditionally, Gregorian chants were sung by choirs of in churches or by religious orders in their chapels.  Named for Pope Gregory I (Pope 590 – 604), chanting has been part of Christian religious services since the very early days of the Catholic Church. The ambiance is magically re-created in the candlelit Abbey Church with ‘Schola Cantorum’ of Brisbane each Christams. The Gregorian Christmas chanting which signifies the beginning of Advent and the onset of what some might call the ‘silly season’ instead brings a piece of peace to your heart and soul, a much sought after reprieve from our busy lives.

A Christmas Tradition

The Medieval Christmas event has been a well-loved event …

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Young Woman with a Stylus

Wax Tablets Roman Style

Wax Tablets….. the Roman Way!

What was your favourite excuse for not handing in your homework? Did the dog ever eat it?  Perhaps your kids have come up with some creative reasons as to why assignments were overdue! I seem to recall ‘the wind blew it away’ or ‘a glass of juice spilled on it’.  We have all heard a few good ones but in ancient Rome,  students had an even better excuse! Their homework had melted by the sun! (Sometimes assisted by holding their wax tablets close to their body).  Now that’s a good one!

Wax tablets and stylus was the means of writing at that time. Paper did not become readily and cheaply available in Europe until the Middle Ages. So, it was necessary to have an effective means for keeping lists, general correspondence and legal documents.  The wax tablet was used as the everyday notebook for thousands of years, although there is increasing evidence that ink was used on thin sheets of wood also.  A number of these have been found at Vindolanda, a Roman Army …

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Cuneiform text

From Clay Tablets to Digital Tablets

The Reed Stylus and Clay Tablet

From clay tablets to digital tablets.  Today texting, typing, writing, memes, … there are so  many ways in which we communicate with others;  technology has opened a veritable Pandora’s box of possibilities. Communications have become shorter and more frequent, full of the expectation of an immediate response.  The result is our modern world seems to travel at break-neck speed.  It is hard to imagine what it was like at the beginning of recorded time when humankind first put pen to paper… well, actually not paper — or pen for that matter — but a reed stylus to clay tablet.

Clay Tablet with Cuneiform

As you may be aware, one of the earliest forms of writing is called Cuneiform. Cuneiform is thought to have been first developed by the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia c 3500 – 3000 BC. Mesopotamian scribes recorded everything from daily events such as trade records and sales dockets to astronomical happenings and political events. I was surprised to learn that some tablets inscribed with cuneiform were written in several different languages …

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The art of Pemberley –

A Picnic at Pemberley 2017 

Each year in September the Abbey Museum holds a boutique event celebrating the uniqueness of the Regency Era.  And this year, guests to ‘A Picnic at Pemberley’ will have a very rare opportunity to view some of the Art of Pemberley – paintings from the Abbey Museum collection – which will be on display for one day only!

The purpose of the Picnic at Pemberley is to raise funds to build an Art Gallery so that the wonderful artwork and paintings that form part of the Abbey Museum’s collection can be displayed for everyone to enjoy. The Abbey Museum’s Mission statement includes ‘changing people’s lives for the better, through the stories created from our collection‘. This exquisite event ‘A Picnic at Pemberley’  is one such story, and  immerses guests into the world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

You may not have known that the Abbey Museum has a number of stunning artworks including water colours from the Royal Academy, precious Icons and even Old Masters  paintings. One of these very special paintings was on display …

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Antique, Vintage or Just Plain Old?

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure!

Indeed this statement is so true! Have you ever heard the stories of the families that had a special item at home that they were absolutely SURE would make them an overnight millionaire because it belonged to great-grandmother Betty who said it was a special antique family heirloom?

Well great-grandmother Betty told Grandy Bruce, who told his daughter Alice, who then told her niece Bertha it was special and had been in the family for generations. The item was taken to be appraised only to revel that it had indeed been in the family for generations, but was worth absolutely nothing apart from the knowledge it was special.

So how do you know that your old family antiques are actually antiques and not just… old?

What is an Antique?

Today everything seems to be called an antique!

Generally speaking, an antique is any work of art, piece of …

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society

The Jane Austen Society of Australia

About Jane Austen Society of Australia, Brisbane

A regional group of the Jane Austen Society of Australia (JASA), situated in Sydney, this organisation is the largest literary society in Australia. There are currently 120 members of JASA Brisbane. The  members are admirers of Jane Austen’s works primarily, but are also interested in her life and the era in which she lived.

JASA began in May 2002 in the format of a book club with eight members. In order to accommodate their rapidly increasing membership and the numbers of international and interstate guest speakers that were available, they soon found that they had to change the format to that of a book society. Meetings generally consist of an address from a guest speaker followed by a series of short presentations and activities ranging from formal to informal. Everyone is encouraged to participate, but it is not compulsory. Each meeting is allotted a theme by the committee. Themes can be quite specific relating to the books or more broad, relating to the author’s life, family, social position or to aspects …

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Viking Beard

How to Spot a Viking!

Even Vikings had hair issues!

By Damien Fegan

DNA analysis of Viking remains suggest a mix of European hair colours. However the Irish described Vikings as being either Dubgaill or Finngaill (dark foreigners or fair foreigners) which may actually be a way of distinguishing the Danes, who had darker hair from the Norwegians who tended to be  more blonde. The popular association of Vikings with blond hair however does have some evidence to back it as the soap they used had a bleaching effect on hair. An Arab writer who met with Viking traders in Russia during the early 900’s, Ibn Fadlan, thought that Viking men coloured their beards with saffron!

Males commonly wore their hair collar or shoulder length and evidence suggests the women of the household regularly washed and trimmed the hair of the men. However there is no evidence for Viking men wearing their hair in long plats, though we do have evidence for some Viking men  wearing their hair very short at the back and growing their fringe down over their eyes. Beards and mustaches …

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