This month’s curiosity was discovered by volunteer archivist Ian Gregory. Over to you, Ian:
In the stores of Buxton Museum is a large piece of paper decorated with two muscular men and a woman deep in thought. Above her are the words in nature’s infinite book, a little can I read. This is a certificate of an exam pass. It was awarded to a man called Frederick M. Moores in 1893. He had passed the elementary stage of Magnetism and Electricity. That year, 8,529 students sat this exam. Only 1,904 of them passed.
I don’t know much about Frederick but the paper I scanned today was once his treasure and presumably that of his family too. Back in 1893, fewer people went into higher education than today so Frederick’s pass was far less usual. How did his life work out? How did his certificate come to the museum? I don’t know but across 120 years, I wish him well.
December’s curiosity of the month is an Egyptian shabti. It is one of six on display in the museum: five can be glimpsed in the Boyd Dawkins Study and the other one is in the Cabinet of Curiosity in the Georgian Room.
Their role in these displays is one of set-dressing, to give the visitor a glimpse into the life of a Georgian collector or Edwardian gentleman. It is not until you get up close that you really appreciate the detail and glazes of these pieces, which were made thousands of years ago.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Egyptomania swept through the Country due to the discoveries found during Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign.
This love of all things Egyptian has shaped a very Derbyshire product and we have many Ashford Black Marble obelisks in the collection, some of which have nonsensical hieroglyphics – a perfect fashion statement for any Victorian parlour.