Go to the Advanced Search


Search or browse for items in the collections using keywords such as 'painting', 'fossil' or 'dance mask'.

In Focus

The following objects represents a selection of topical, unusual or interesting records from our collection. These records have been selected by our team of curators.

ID number:  BIRBI-84.1
Title / Object name:  Young Woman Seated
Category:  Visual art
Object type:  Painting
Artist / Maker:  Renoir, Pierre-Auguste (1841-1919)
Date made:  about 1876/7

Renoir was one of the greatest of the Impressionist painters, and his love of primary colours is evident in the soft oranges, reds, greens and blues of this picture. It was painted about 1876/7 and belongs to a contemporary series of half-length studies. The sitter has been identified as Nini Lopez, a professional model. Renoir later protested: "They've made me look on one of my paintings with disgust by calling it La Pensée [Thought]"; adding on another occasion: "My models have no thoughts".   [More Info]

ID number:  BIRRC-M0146
Title / Object name:  A Smart Bristow Faradic Machine for Stimulating Muscle
Category:  Scientific instruments
Object type:  Medical Apparatus

A small mahogany box with a hinged lid with 2 metal locks on either side. The right side of the box has a small hole surrounded by a circular piece of metal. The interior of the box contains black plastic apparatus consisting of a barel, 2 dials with white arrows on them and 2 smaller dials with 'patient' labelled between them. 'Patent applied for' is stamped in the top-left corner of the apparatus and a makers mark, 'Stanley, Gerrad St. London W.1', can be seen just above the two 'patient' dials. 'No. M.H.171' is also stamped beneath the makers mark. The front of the box opens to reveal a compartment beneath containing several screws and wires. Two wires attach beneath the 'patient' dials and have metal pieces on their ends. The underside of the lids holds a heavy black cylinder, held to the lid with two metal clips.   [More Info]

ID number:  ECM 361
Title / Object name:  Shabti of a Priest
Object type:  Shabti
Date made:  26th Dynasty (664-525 BC)

Pale blue faience shabti. The shabti is a typical example of the 26th Dynasty, with a long tripartite wig and an artificial plaited beard. The face is large and plain, with plain lips and eyebrows. The ears are quite large and not exactly at the same level. The crossed arms are not visible, but the hands are clear and bear the typical agricultural implements (hoes, type C according to Schneider 1977: 169) required to fulfil the work described in the shabti spell.

Traces of light blue glaze are visible on the wig, face, beard, hands, the lower part of the back pillar and the base.

The inscription (the shabti spell, chapter 6 of the ‘Book of the Dead’) is carved in framed lines running around the body, beginning immediately under the line of the arms, and also covering the feet. The back of the shabti is supported by an undecorated back pillar (Schneider 1977: vol. 3, fig 18, no. 3b).   [More Info]

BIRUG 182.1.jpg
ID number:  BIRUG 182
Title / Object name:  Barytes
Category:  Mineralogy
Object type:  Sulphate

Stalactitic form.   [More Info]

ID number:  BIRBI-B1590
Title / Object name:  250 Nummi
Category:  Numismatics
Object type:  Coin
Artist / Maker:  Justin II (565-578)
Place made:  Mint of Ravenna
Date made:  565-578

Obverse: Bust of Justin II wearing cuirass, paludamentum (military cloak) and diadem.
Reverse: CN (mark of value, 250 nummi) within a wreath.

Justinian I nominated Justin as his successor. Justin was not only the nephew of Justinian, but was also married to Sophia, the niece of Empress Theodora. The reign of Justin II saw the empire at war on almost every front. In 568 the Lombards invaded Byzantine Italy and in just a few years had conquered much of the country. Justin refused to pay tribute to the Avars and Persians, which sparked a war with these two powers. Justin II became insane and in 574 nominated Tiberius, Count of the Excubitors as Caesar and retired from public life. When Justin died in 578 Tiberius succeeded him as Augustus. Ravenna at this time was the capital of Byzantine Italy.   [More Info]