First World War Remembered

Although we are a museum not an archive we do hold some personal letters.  It seemed appropriate to share in this month of remembrance this letter from Arthur Moreton.  Arthur was writing home on November 12th 1914 from his training camp prior to shipping over to France.  This is what he wrote,

Nov 12th 1914

 

Dear Mother

Thanks very much for letters and cakes which Elsie packed well, not any broken, J Tooth and myself did enjoy them. Have seen Reg Smith several times, he looks a lot better than when at Nuneaton.

Thank Ray Wain very much for cigarettes and I hope he is keeping well and also Mrs Wain, should like to see him before we leave for France.  Have been drawing at the Orderly Room the last day or two of all the trenches round for Major Hill.  We were firing Monday and Tuesday. I made a good score, 20 out of 25 at 100 yards; 18 out of 20 at 300, 24 out of 30 at 300 yards. Not bad. I believe we start shooting tomorrow for an extra 3 a day, which I get now, but without I get 95 out of 120, it will be stopped. I am rather afraid it will be as well, for its shooting to get it. 

I tried to get this week, but it did not come off, might get next week, and I believe we shall have 2 days at the beginning of next month before we start for France across the fish pond. We will sing when we get there ‘We’ll make the Germans run,’ – but they might make us, they are pretty strong along this Front. 

Have had a bad eye, have bathed it several times and its nearly right now. You might send a woollen cardigan, my waistcoat has nearly done its bit, and it is getting cold now.

 

Hope you are all quite well

 

Your loving son

Arthur

Hope I shall be able to get for I should like to see the pigs before they are sold. What do you think they weigh now (18 stone)?

 Remember me to (unreadable) and all and Mr Somers

 

Am going on alright

 

We believe that Arthur survived the war going on to be an architect.

 

 

 

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An Inuit diet is not for me, but maybe Heston has the right idea!

Whilst developing compositions for my final illustrations, I’m still reading up on the way of life in Inuit communities.

One of the things I find most enjoyable to do with friends and family is to cook and eat. However somehow, after reading these recipes found in articles from the museum collection, I don’t think I would feel the same way living as an Inuit person from Pond Inlet:

Inuit Recipes

Traditional recipes for dips made from hunted animals.

Ingredients for the above recipes range from whale, to melted fat and intestines, to drops of animal blood. The idea of Udjuk (Square Flipper Seal) for my dinner or Uncle Annowalk’s Nirukkaq dip starter (made from the contents of a caribou stomach) sounds revolting to me!

However, I am utterly impressed. These recipes show yet another way in which Inuit people tried not to waste any part of the animal once hunted down. Something done a lot and taken for granted in the food industries today.

Perhaps we should be getting more like Heston Blumenthal with our recipe creations but by adopting resourcefulness to our culinary inventions!

Spoon used for cooking made of animal bone.

Spoon used for cooking made of animal bone.

Maybe in a few generations ahead we will be seeing Inuit cuisine restaurants as all the rage – what do you think?

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Can anyone translate these Inuit Words?Inuit

Please help! We have finalised which objects to display alongside my illustrations for the forthcoming exhibition next February at the museum. All except for this last item – a handbag beautifully embroidered with beads into Inuit words. Both I and the museum team do not know what it reads – can you read Inuktittut (the Inuit language of Baffin Island)?

Inuit Handbag

Please get in touch if you know or know where I should ask?

Thank you all.

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Get Hands On with History this Saturday!

This month’s Hands On History session casts an artistic eye over the collection, examining different types of art and artistic techniques from around the world.

All of the objects represent some of the depth and diversity of the collections, from Chinese papers dolls to a Tibetan statuette. However it was an artefact a bit closer to home that really caught my attention! I discovered a hand embroidered map, created to celebrate the Festival of Britain in 1951. This colourful and humorous piece of art features images of William Shakespeare, a London Beefeater, a Welsh harpist and a Scottish piper amongst others.

Why not pop along on Saturday 18 October between 11am to 4pm to see if you agree!Hands On History 1

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A museum trip to London with exhibition plans ahead

After the second visit to Nuneaton, I’ve been gathering my ideas and discussing how I can turn my illustrations into interactives with Matt, the museum’s Outreach Officer – and also working out the layout of the exhibition with Jen, the museum’s Exhibitions Officer, it’s all coming together…here’s some of my early exhibition plans sketches – see if you can recognise if we end up with any of these ideas or not!

Sketch of Jhinuk's Exhibition draft DRAFT plan that could change!

Jhinuk’s Exhibition draft DRAFT plan that could change!

I have been working out some more detail to finalise our exhibition plans with the museum front of house team in my studio in London at Blackhorse Workshop. Together Marion, Heather, Rob, Matt and I worked out what questions visitors might ask them in the lead up to the exhibition.

Image of four people in discussion around Jhinuk's desk covered wit drawings and a laptop showing collection images

Rob, Heather Matt and Marion from the museum team helping me out at my studio desk.

We also talked about how I make my work, what materials I use and how I’m developing my practice for this project ‘Tales of the Tundra’ (a working title for now).

Collage sketch of sewing kit from the Inuit collection in black and white

Collage sketch of sewing kit from the Inuit collection

Sewing Kit from Nuneaton's Inuit Collection

Sewing Kit from Nuneaton’s Inuit Collection

Incomplete collage sketch of Pond Inlet

Incomplete collage sketch of Pond Inlet

Before the team headed off to the British Museum (to explore more collections of Inuit artefacts) they also gave me some food for thought on what to blog about. They gave me extra ideas about what might interest the local people of Nuneaton and more ideas to follow up on more for the next time I visit. Thanks guys! So stay tuned, I may reveal more before I meet the museum team again in November…!

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That glazed look!

Well they are finally going in!

After a hectic few days of clearing out the two downstairs galleries and preparing the spaces, our new windows have started to arrive and be installed. These new double glazed units replace the original windows that were put in during 1917 but were sadly the worse for wear, having faced

New windows

New windows

the elements for nearly one hundred years. Our new windows, whilst looking almost identical, promise to help ensure that we make a significant energy-saving throughout the winter as well as looking good for our visitors!

We are hopefull that all the work will be completed by the 27 October.

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Understanding Inuit Animals

As an Illustrator, when I want to learn about something, I understand more if I try to draw it and look at the visual sense of what it is or how it works. For example, here’s a quick sketch related to my last blog post – about how the Caribou is used for many different purposes, and hardly any part of the hunted down animal is wasted:

caribou to sinew

A caribou being hunted, cut into strips, and taken apart for food, making weapons, making clothes, and shelter.

So the last couple of months I’ve been settling in to a new studio space to spread out my drawings, read up on the way of life for Inuit people as communities, and their individual roles….and drawing animals that are part of their survival!

polar bear

Polar bear studies and sketches using ink, fountain pen and brush washes.

great diving bird

Great Diving Bird sitting in water (Sketch in black ink and water washes)

 

ek a luk

An ink study of a school of fish or ‘Ek a luk’ in Inuit language

caribou

Study of a ‘Tuktoo’ or Caribou

black swan

Ink study of a Black Swan

I’m beginning to draw upon ideas brought up in my last planning meeting with the museum – what message is strong that comes through from my research and relating to the objects in the museum’s collection – and how it all fits together into an exciting exhibition for you all. More to be revealed soon…

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