Happy Valentine’s Day!

Derbyshire Record Office

A treat from our Franklin collection: the Valentine poem Eleanor Porden wrote in 1823 for her fiancé, John Franklin. We’re very lucky to have two versions – here’s the original draft:

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And here is the letter she sent him on 14 February 1823, with her handwriting ‘disguised’:

The symbols on the letter (presumably purporting to be Inuit) tie in with the mention of Coppermine River, the river in North Canada John Franklin had traveled down during his Coppermine Expedition of 1819 to 1822.  Eleanor seems to be writing as if she is an Inuit woman – see the post about Miss Green Stockings to find out more!

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Bridie’s Favourite Works of Art

A talented young pupil named Bridie has joined us this week for her work experience. We asked her to write about something she liked and Bridie has chosen to look closer at some of the stunning work in the Artwork 2019 exhibtion, which you can see for yourself until Saturday 8 February and in 20 Years of the Friends Purchase Prize, on until Saturday 18 April. Plan your visit here.

If you would like to apply for work experience at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, email buxton.museum@derbyshire.gov.uk, introduce yourself and tell us what you’re interested in. We can’t guarrantee a place but we will try our best.

Over to you, Bridie:

Not only does the museum display an incredible range of historic artefacts surrounding our area and resident history, but they also include not one, but two fantastic galleries, equally proffering a multitude, and clear variety of artworks by local artists and more.

A few of my personal favourite pieces from the student’s work in Gallery 1 include:

Anthony by Nicole Broadhurst

This piece exudes a strong understanding of light and colour, through its use of oils on the canvas. The anatomy and textures also add to the ‘strong’ look of this piece, clearly presenting a finalised and well-executed artwork.

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Marine Inspirations by Year Ten Pupils

The multiple sea-life inspired ceramics are very interesting to view, due to the expressive range within the display case, and how each student has chosen to interpret the idea surrounding ‘sea-life’. My personal favourite was a well-textured, almost skeletal looking fish with a colour contrast of blue and orange.

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Cityscape Silhouette by Chloe Foster

Black and white allow this piece to present the amazing amount of detail gone into it, with clear-cut use of the black paper, and simple canvas, this ‘Cityscape Silhouette’ almost appears to be a finely detailed painting.

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However, Gallery 2 also offers some fine pieces of work within its current showcase, some of my favourites being:

Collapsing Barn by Clare Benson

Awarded the ‘Friends of Buxton Museum and Art Gallery Prize at the 2013 Derbyshire Open Art Competition’, this oil-pastel painting combines a clear understanding of perspective, with an excellent eye for colour. The presentation of rust on the barn stood out to me as an interesting and aesthetic technique too.

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Eyam Hall by Leri Kinder

This watercolour-based artwork was awarded the same prize as ‘Collapsing Barn’, only in 2016 instead. I really enjoyed the painterly techniques employed within this piece, as the lack of excessive strokes created a wonderfully simplistic yet visually-appealing image.

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Gritstone VII by Peter H. Gill

While small, this mixed-media creation beautifully defines its shapes and textures in order to illustrate the idea of a rock formation. Colour contrasts with the light, aquamarine blues and deep, muddy-reds also express a similar ‘vibe’, coming across as a stunningly-stylised artwork.

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A Fraudulent Governess

Derbyshire Record Office

I recently happened upon some material which piqued my interest: it was a small envelope of correspondence 1896-1900 relating to a former governess to Sir Vauncey Harpur Crewe’s daughters, named Miss Adams, who was involved in a court case.  If you’ve read my blog posts about Elizabeth Appleton, you’ll know that governesses have a particular fascination for me, so I felt compelled to find out more about Miss Adams.

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There was a suggestion that Lady Crewe might have to testify and letters from his daughter to the governess might be produced as evidence.  Sir Vauncey Harpur Crewe was clearly trying to prevent this happening and distance his family from any scandal.  With a bit of judicious searching on Ancestry, Findmypast, and the British Newspaper Archive (all free to use at the Record Office and your local Derbyshire library)  I found a wealth of information about Sarah A’Court which paints…

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What are your plans for Christmas this year?

Derbyshire Record Office

How many times have you been asked this already this year?  Hands up if you are planning a trip away – where are you going?

How about skating and tobogganing on Mont Blanc – just 10 guineas

Or perhaps a Mediterranean cruise to welcome the New Year – 25 guineas

And if you’re still hunting for that last minute Christmas present, why not show someone how much they mean to you with a tour of Rome – from just £10 (oops, perhaps that should be £820)

Don’t forget to read the small print…

If you’d rather stay at home, why not treat the children to a stylish new hat

Wherever you go and what you do, Derbyshire Record Office wishes you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year(that is for 2020 not 1899!)

Images courtesy of

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Buxton Museum and Art Gallery Festive Opening Times 2019

You’re no doubt wondering when you can visit Buxton Museum and Art Gallery this festive season and take a welcome cultural break from all that eating and drinking. Well, wonder no more; here are your opportunties to see some great admission-free exhibtions and get warm after braving Buxton’s frozen streets:

Saturday 21st December: Open 10 to 5

Sunday 22nd December: Closed

Monday 23rd December: Closed

Tuesday 24th December: Open 10 to 1

Wednesday 25th December: Closed

Thursday 26th December: Closed

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Friday 27th December: Open 10 to 5

Saturday 28th December: Open 10 to 5

Sunday 29th December: Closed

Monday 30th December: Closed

Tuesday 31 December: Open 10 to 4

Wednesday 1 January: Closed