Order of the Horse – Pemberley 2016

Horses, Cavalry, Guns and Uniforms

The backdrop set in the time of the famous Napoleonic Wars in the early 1900s in Regency style.

A time where women paraded around in regency dress and gentleman courted, escorted and swept ladies off their feet. When men were adorned in French or Anglo uniform and women worshiped their male heroes of war.

Picnic at Pemberley transports us to a time of grace where women were dressed in beautiful gowns and men a like, a time when military men of the cavalry were admired with awe. Their horses and uniforms breath taking. At Picnic of Pemberley, a small unit of heavy French Cavalry serving the Emperor Napoleon arrive at the Picnic on their horses. Women and men eye off the cavalry and their horses as they enter as guests. An armoured Cuirassier officer of the cavalry, appointed by the Emperor Napoleon, and Dragoons, display a beautiful drill on their horses in full uniform followed by …

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Abbey Museum Celebrates 30 Years

Thirty years ago on a warm Saturday afternoon in late June a group of friends, members of the Abbey Community, builders and museum staff gathered with over 100 invited guests  to hear the Abbey Museum declared officially open. It was a moving moment: the culmination of more than six years of research, design and fund raising.

There were times when it seemed that the modest design for the gallery would run out of funds and remain an empty shell. Despite the nightmares, remarkably money always came just in time to pay the bills. The Museum team became incredibly inventive in attracting funds and in-kind gifts of materials. At one stage the deputy director of the Queensland Museum (itself nearing completion) remarked to Michael Strong that there were more members of his staff working as volunteers at the Abbey Museum than there were at South Brisbane! Most of the case designs were done with the help of David Bligh and Robert Allen, two senior design artists at the Queensland Museum, and they relished the task of designing a museum without strictures …

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Delftware Plate from Abbey Museum Collection

Dutch Delft – Almost as Famous as Clogs!

Situated in the Museum’s ‘Apothecary Shoppe’ display, can be found several items of iconic blue and white Dutch Delft pottery. Careful research has uncovered some interesting history to share from the examples that we have in our collection. Delft on display

Research has been carried out on three of our Dutch Delft items.  One is an attractive plate with sprays of flowers (1739-1750) and another is a fruit (or strawberry) strainer dish (c.1725-1775) that usually pairs with a matching plate on a table to catch the moisture from strawberries or other soft fruits. The third item is a 17th century Delft tile with an endearing depiction of a mother and child.

In the case of our plate and fruit strainer dish we are fortunate to have evidence of the factory mark on their reverse side. The axe mark shows that both of these items were produced at the earthenware factory, De Porceleyn Bijl (The Porcelain Axe) whose workshop was active from 1657 to 1803.

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Tiny Satsuma Vase at the Abbey Museum

Lost and Found – The Tale of the Tiny Satsuma Vase

Many of you will know the Abbey Museum collection has quite an interesting history. A story that starts in England in the late 1800’s when a young English boy started to collect Roman coins and pottery taking them to the esteemed British Museum for identification. This young lad was John Sebastian Marlow Ward, a boy with a passion for history and understanding people of the past. In 1934 his collection had grown and he opened the Abbey Folk Park, the first social history museum in England. Ward amassed some 90,000 objects that covered the story of humankind over 500,000 years of world history.

Sadly the Second World War brought the closure of Ward’s Folk Park and in 1946 Ward and a small community he had formed, left England with only a small percentage of the original collection.  One of the artefacts to set sail from England with Ward was a beautiful miniature Satsuma vase. Like many of his collection, it travelled to Cyprus where it languished for 9 years, before it was taken first to Sri Lanka (at that time …

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Trekking with the Senior Curator along Emu Tracks

Travelling with the Abbey Museum’s senior curator is always an adventure, as a group of Museum Friends found out as we participated in a heritage tour in mid August. Appropriately called “Stone Circles and Emu Tracks” we set out from the Abbey Museum by coach under clear blue skies and headed north to Woodford and the site of Durundur, the first sheep ‘run’ in Queensland, north of the Darling Downs. Michael has a wealth of knowledge of this area and kept us all engrossed as he wove historical stories both inspiring and also heartbreaking.

From Woodford we wound our way along the Stanley River valley. As we looked out the window over a brown-grassed landscape struggling for survival at the end of drought ridden Winter, Michael painted a picture of times long past, of a densely forested valley with giant trees with trunks three to four metres in diameter, a valley rich with resources – fruits, yams, pademelons and emus. These were the traditional lands of the Dungidau, one …

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The Saga of the Senior Curator and his philanderings…

It’s All About Birds

Yes, you guessed it; he is at it again… Those who know our senior curator know that he has three passions in his life – firstly, his beloved wife (of course); secondly, the collections of the Abbey Museum and finally… BIRDS. Yes that’s right BIRDS.

In this case we are talking about the two-legged (feathered) variety.

Despite the fact that most holiday destinations are decided on the potential of seeing some rare bird species and that her husband spends frequent Sundays for hours at a time to gaze through his telescope at godwits, dotterels, snipe and stilts, his long suffering but loving wife is happy that he engages in a harmless pastime that brings him so much pleasure.

Inspired by Chidori

However, she does draw the line when he brings this pastime home and spends many hours mooning over two little birds embossed on the side of a 17th Japanese geisha lacquer …

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