Today I went to the British Museum, with the Weasels, to see the Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition that has had everyone talking for ages. It has been heralded as the best exhibition ever. I was looking forward to seeing something quite special.
Something that spoils exhibitions for me is the crowds. Museums, always cash strapped and eager to sell as many tickets as possible, tend to cram more people into a time slot than is comfortable. And fair enough, too. For the public, it’s an opportunity to see things they may never see otherwise. It’s just, I’m not sure that it’s worth it. For me, anyway.
This exhibit was especially interesting because of how much we loved Pompeii when we went. I probably thought it would be like re-visting without the airfare and Neapolitan pollution. Sadly, this just wasn’t the case.
The day started lovely enough. Having recommended the Ship Tavern for the last Weasels museum foray (which I didn’t attend), it was decided that it should once more serve as a meeting point. This time, Lorna booked us a table in the restaurant which sits above the bar.
I thought I was going to be late but arrived shortly after John so we sat and had a beer before the others eventually joined us. We then had a fabulous Sunday lunch, washed down with copious pints of Buttcombe ale. The others had roasts (pork and beef) while I had my favourite pub lunch, ham, eggs and chips. And I have to say, the ham was superb!
From the Ship, we wandered over to the museum and joined the queue for the 2:30 tour. So far, so good but once we managed to enter, the crowds were awful. Half the time I had to dodge around people, the other half I just skipped by things because I was sick of waiting for someone to move on.
And something that annoyed all of us was the way that people with the headphones and attached visual device would stop in front of an object, completely blocking the little information board, while they listened to the description of an object they were looking at on their small screens! That’s just rude.
I was also rather annoyed with the Schumanian chap who kept taking photographs of objects even though photography was, apparently, strictly prohibited. The number of times he bumped into me because he wanted a shot from another angle, were too many to calculate.
So, all in all, not the most enjoyable exhibition from my point of view. Interestingly, I’d already seen most of the exhibits from my trip to the Archaeological Museum in Naples during our visit. And there I almost had the place to myself! In future, I reckon I’ll just visit the museums where the objects are rather than wait for them to travel to the British hordes.
I know I’m making it sound awful when, in fact, the exhibition was very well laid out and collected together. Dawn said she loved it (Dawn is the only one of us who hasn’t been to Pompeii) so what do I know!
After sitting on the steps outside with John, waiting for the others to finish, we wandered down to the Globe pub, opposite the Royal Opera House for a few lovely summer ales before heading home in our various directions.
To finish off this post, I’d just like to include two pieces which I’d never seen before and which have become my favourites. I should add that I’ve photographed the (excellent) book rather than the actual objects.
First up is a wonderful fresco. It was originally on the wall leading to a latrine and shows Isis protecting a man going to the toilet. I’ve left Isis out and trimmed it to just include the man. Above his head is written “Cacator cave malum” which translates as “Shitter beware the evil eye!”
And, my all time favourite, is this statue of Hercules. He has clearly just returned from the pub, having had a bit too much of the good stuff. He almost looks like he has a big beer belly! I love the way the sculptor has managed to imbue the statue with a sense of drunkenness and jollity…even with the club and dead lion draped across his shoulders.
The statue is only about 18″ high and would have stood in a garden. I’d rather like one for ours.