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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:  ECM 398
Title / Object name:  Shabti of Pinudjem I
Object type:  Shabti
Date made:  Twenty-First Dynasty (c. 1069-945 BCE)

Bright blue faience shabti of Pinudjem I with black painted details. These details include the stripes of the wig, the eyes, and the agricultural implements (although there is no basket). A vertical column of hieroglyphs painted in black on the front read: 'Illuminating the Osiris, King (Pinudjem beloved of Amun)|, true of voice'.

A similar shabti figure of Pinudjem I (or possibly II), also found within the royal cache at Deir el-Bahri, is held by the British Museum (EA 30400): http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?searchText=30400&ILINK|34484,|assetId=98777001&objectId=118073&partId=1   [More Info]

BIRUG 332.jpg
ID number:  BIRUG 332
Title / Object name:  Cassiterite var. Wood Tin
Category:  Mineralogy
Object type:  Oxide

Fibrous form.   [More Info]

ID number:  BIRBI-VV0066
Title / Object name:  21-nummi piece
Category:  Numismatics
Object type:  Coin
Artist / Maker:  The Vandal Kingdom; Carthage
Place made:  Carthage
Date made:  480-533

Obverse: Carthage robed standing facing, holding wheat sheaves in both hands within a wreath, amulet at top. Reverse: Denomination mark within a wreath, amulet at top.   [More Info]

ID number:  BIRBI-90.1
Title / Object name:  The Three Fates
Category:  Visual art
Object type:  Painting
Artist / Maker:  Mazzoni, Sebastiano (c.1611-1678)
Place made:  Venice
Date made:  about 1670/5

According to classical myth, the destiny of man is determined by the Three Fates. They spin, measure, and cut the thread of life. At the top, Clotho holds a spinning whorl from which comes the thread. It is gathered by Lachesis, and cut below by Atropos with her shears. The Fates are accompanied by a serpent, symbol of evil. Behind, a broken column symbolises a life cut short.

Mazzoni’s choice of young women to represent the Fates, instead of old and ugly crones, adds a further sinister element. The artist himself suffered cruelly at the hands of fate – he died after a fall down stairs.   [More Info]

ID number:  BIRRC-A0864
Title / Object name:  Guardian I.
Category:  Visual art
Object type:  Painting
Artist / Maker:  Lawson, Sonia (b.1934)
Date made:  1994

Guardian I and II with their vivid, poetic imagery, were conceived and planned as a pair to hang on either side of the staircase in University Centre, to mark the reopening of the Avon Room in 1994.

The figures in the painting - the head-like sentinel with beacon, the charioteer, the horse and rider, the bicycle - were developed by the artist as stalwart images of companionship and reliability, evoking ideas of permanence, faith and the continuum of time, past, present and future. The paintings contain hints of the strange, the exotic and the everyday, of strength and fragility, of dark and light, growth and change - a great variety of correspondences and oppositions that will always be the stuff of life.

Sonia Lawson, born in 1934 in North Yorkshire, is a distinguished painter whose work has been exhibited throughout the world. Her paintings are figurative, dwelling most notably on themes of myth, legend and literature. There is, however, a characteristically inventive twist in Lawson’s painting, in which time is displaced and narrative becomes clouded.

Above all, Sonia Lawson is a colourist, a worker of paint whose shifting planes of colour conjure mood and atmosphere. She sues heavy incisions in her grainy paint surfaces to define form and to create exciting visual textures.

She studied at the Royal College of Art and later became visiting tutor to the Royal Academy Schools for many years. She was elected a Royal Academician in 1982   [More Info]