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Castle Bid

June 2016

June news

Welcome to June news

Nottingham Castle Transformation newsletter

In this edition...

  • Object feature - Alabasters
  • Brewhouse Yard Dye Garden Project
  • Leonardo exhibition coming in June
  • Skeleton excavation update
  • Mercian Regiment Gallery reopening

Heres what the project team has been up to in the past month:

Project Team update

Richard III Society Visit - Earlier this month the project team hosted a visit from representatives of the Richard III Society. Both parties were keen to explore possible partnership opportunities for the life of the development project and beyond. King Richard III resided at Nottingham Castle for part of his reign, departing from there in 1485 for Bosworth, where he became the last English King to die in battle. We look forward to working with the Richard III Society in the future to ensure that this element of the Castles history is celebrated.

Nottingham Caves Festival - An initial meeting has been held to discuss Nottingham Caves Festival, due to launch in October 2016. This event will be held annually, and from 2017 onwards will feature in the Nottingham Castle Activity Plan. Key partners in the Caves Festival will include Nottingham Civic Society, The Malt Cross, Galleries of Justice and Experience Nottinghamshire. The aim of the festival will be to encourage increased public access to our fascinating caves across the city, including our famous caves and tunnels at the Castle. Keep your eyes peeled for further updates in the coming months.

HLF submission preparations - This month has seen all members of the project and professional team hard at work finalising documents and plans ready for the Round 2 HLF submission deadline looming in July. This is a really exciting time for the project as we see the plans coming to life, and we can really appreciate the amount of work that has gone into the development process over the last 18 months.

Flawford Virgin

Object feature - alabaster

Welcome to our new regular feature highlighting star objects from our museum collections. All of the objects of the month will take pride of place in our new gallery displays, currently being designed by Exhibition Designers Casson Mann.

What is it?

Our first selection is The Flawford Virgin & Child. This beautiful carving dating from circa 1380 is one of the earliest in our internationally significant collection of alabasters.

Why is it significant?

Alabaster is rarely found in England now, but was mostly quarried in the East Midlands making Nottingham an important medieval centre for carving. Pieces from the thriving export trade still survive in other countries.

Tell me more

Alabaster carvings were common in English churches, but most carved and painted religious images were destroyed during the English Reformation in the 16th Century.

Our carving is one of three, discovered in 1779 under the chancel floor of the demolished Church of St Peter in the medieval village ofFlawford, between Ruddington & Edwalton.

All three carvings came into the museum collection in 1908.

In our opinion

"This object was selected as a true survivor and because of the beauty of the carving. There is a slight sway to the Virgins pose and many little details are evident, such as the crimped edge of her veil, which she holds delicately in her left hand - and the way the fabric is gathered over the crook of her left arm. You really get the sense of the sculptor thinking about how the fabric moves with the human form." Deborah Dean, Visual Arts Collections & Exhibitions Manager

You can currently find The Flawford Virgin & Child on display at the Castle within the History of Nottingham displays.

Dye garden - Gardening volunteer project at Brewhouse Yard

There is a tradition of textile production and dyeing at Brewhouse Yard. Innovations in dyeing took place here and made William Elliott one of the richest men in Nottingham he invented black dye.

For this reason, gardening volunteers have been busy working on a dyeing garden down at Brewhouse Yard. Work got underway in late April. At present the dye garden has been planted and there has been a workshop on dying using plants. Nottingham City Council's Volunteer Programme Coordinator, Karen Lushey explains...

"The dye garden is in one of the front cottage beds. It was been kept very small to be more easily managed. A freelancer came in and explained how to dye using plants etc. (this is actually a much longer process than you may think).

There is another workshop in September at Woodthorpe Grange's Grow Your Own event where the team will pilot a short dye session with visitors. If this works out well we are hoping to do this as a regular offer at Brewhouse Yard.

Funding for this work has come from several pots.Some Arts Council England budget for the gardens and some contribution from the Nottingham Castle development budgets.

Going forward, there are plans for a garden cart project(sort of like the art carts in the galleries)that is going to be part funded from award money from the Marsh Trust as well as Arts Council England funds."

The project is always looking for more people to help in gardens! Please get in touch

Brewhouse Dyeing Project

Leonardo posters

Leonardo is coming to Nottingham Castle!

Don't miss this rare opportunity to see drawings by one of the world's greatest artists, when they visit Nottingham Castle this summer.

Leonardo attempted to record and understand the world around him through drawing. The exhibition shows the incredible range of his interests, from painting and sculpture to engineering, zoology, botany, map making and anatomy. It also demonstrates his mastery of different drawing materials.

An exciting programme of events, talks and activities for all ages will accompany the exhibition - please visit the exhibition website for more details.

Why not take advantage of the new Nottingham Castle 7 annual visitor pass and return as many times as you like for a year?


Scott's facts and findings

Welcome to Scott's sixth column.In this edition, he is going to update on the archaeological excavation at the Castle which took place at the beginning of the month...

"Many readers will be aware that in the 1970s and early 1980s there were several excavations at the castle which have shaped our current knowledge of the castle and its development from the time of William the Conquerer, through to its eventual destruction in 1651 and the construction of the current Ducal Palace in the 1670s.

One of these excavations, in 1978, found the upper part of a human skeleton (from the chest upwards) but the skeleton was not fully exposed at the time. The exposed bones (fragments of skull, a lower jaw, ribs, parts of the spine, shoulders and upper arms) were removed and carefully stored in a museum store. And that was the end of the story... until a few weeks ago."


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