Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Amazing Visit to Derby Art Museum

Unfortunately, even a photo permit couldn’t help me here, you are not allowed to publish the photos so for my own use only. It is too bad because this is a great little museum and there are lots of things that I think would have made excellent subjects.

I began my visit in the Origins of Derby Exhibit. The first few cases have to do with the Bronze Age. There are several cases of items such as knives, axe heads and spearheads. Most of them were found in rivers and marshes. It is not known why these valuable metal items would have been deposited in the Rivers but it may have been part of a ritual.

There are also items found in a Bronze Age burrow. The Bronze Age is 4200-2200BC. People were buried in log coffins and there is a whole display of pottery from this period. Many of these pieces of pottery are from Stanton Moor and others are from Stoney Middleton Dale.

The next section is the Roman period. There are jars that were used to hold beans, and were just that, it was the beans that were the important part in this time period. I liked a very pretty Simian Bowl with a hunting scene from the 2nd century CE. The remains of the graves of two children have been preserved; there are two bronze bangle bracelets and a bronze finger ring. 

An interesting find was that people in this period were buried with shoes on. These are followed by a case showing a Romano-British kitchen and one with Roman and Medieval Coins.

I personally was fascinated by the bust of a Viking whose grave was discovered outside St Wystans Church. The artist used the skull to give us a very good idea what this warrior would have looked like. He died in 873-874. Repton was a mass grave with at least 249 people of which only 5 are woman; there are no evident injuries so it was disease that took their lives.

An Anglo Saxon grave site reveals lots of information about the lives of these people, an amber necklace, iron knife, silver finger ring and bronze buckle.

 The Repton Stone dominates this portion of the Museum; it is what remains of an 8th Century Anglo Saxon Cross. One of the figures on the cross may be Aethalbald, King of Mercia who was murdered and buried at Repton.

One of the most amazing exhibits is in the next room. The Hanson Longboat. This is a Bronze Age Longboat that was discovered in a quarry at Shardlow. It is 3500 years old. Also in this room are several works by George Turner called the Derbyshire Constable.

 Up a short set of stairs is the Wright Gallery and it won’t disappoint. Joseph Wright has an amazing way with light and there is a room full of his works, some portraits and some landscapes. I loved “Cottage on Fire” and Grotto in the Gulf of Salerno.


  1. I definitely would love to visit if I ever get to Derby. I felt the same frustration when visiting the Shaker Home in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Filled with artifacts from the Shaker settlement in the 1800's and nary a photograph I could use. I had taken quite a few before I was told about the ban on inside photography and honored that on my blog but it's a shame as many people cannot travel to such a remote place just to tour this unusual settlement home.

  2. Usually places will allow me to publish if they know I am a travel writer but not this place. Too bad about the Shaker Museum, the one in Hancock let me photograph and even encouraged it.