Essential new acquisition for Horsham Museum & Artwork Gallery

Jeremy with the new acquisition
Jeremy with the brand new acquisition

Museum curator Jeremy Knight mentioned: “The saying ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’ is about 2,000 years previous and continues to be used in the present day about people who find themselves energetic and at all times doing issues. Frederick Du Cane Godman was probably the most dynamic, energetic, and sensible minds of the Victorian period, a person who was a number one member of greater than ten scientific organisations. He did simply that; collect moss.

“The naturalist, explorer, ornithologist, archaeologist, collector par-excellence, builder of South Lodge in Decrease Beeding, breeder of orchids, and native benefactor took up the interest of accumulating moss when he was a sick youngster. Some specimens present he was accumulating when he was 14 years previous, and he continued it by his lifetime.”

Now, because of the generosity of the Mates of Horsham Museum and a detailed descendant of the Godman household, Horsham Museum & Artwork Gallery have acquired Frederick Du Cane Godman’s albums of mosses.

“The albums reveal the Victorian fascination with the pure world, Godman’s enquiring thoughts and his consideration to element, in addition to his want to gather. They may function in a surprising exhibition that attracts collectively many elements of his wonderful life when the museum re-opens subsequent yr.

“Frederick Du Cane Godman’s vital collections have had a chequered historical past following the loss of life of his daughters.

“His world well-known assortment of Islamic pottery was gifted to the British Museum, and his assortment of ornithology (numbering within the tens of 1000’s of scientific specimens) was given to the Pure Historical past Museum. Nevertheless his different collections have been dispersed by numerous auctions.”

The albums acquired by Horsham Museum have been first bought within the late 1980s and have been just lately put up on the market in Norfolk by an unknown vendor after which handed into the e book commerce.

“The vendor John Underwood purchased them and supplied then within the August PBFA On-line E book Honest, a brand new innovation within the antiquarian e book commerce to take care of the impression of COVID-19. That day some 60 sellers showcased their just lately acquired books. Happily serendipity performed a component.”

Jeremy noticed the albums and recognised their significance. John agreed they need to come to Horsham, supplied them at a decreased value, and the Mates of Horsham Museum seized the chance. Jeremy underlines their significance: “They’re a whole assortment that spans over 50 years of Godman’s accumulating curiosity.”

In addition they mirror a few of his earliest engagement with pure historical past.

“He evidently valued the gathering as he had them sure and preserved within the magnificent bindings. The albums mirror his ardour, curiosity and engagement with science, and the pure world round him.

“To make use of an oft-quoted phrase, they provide a glimpse into the person himself and as such are a exceptional archive. They’re additionally a document of British moss in all their varieties and supply researchers a have a look at moss habitats earlier than the modifications led to by air pollution and local weather change.”

Horsham Museum and Artwork Gallery is at the moment closed to the general public, however behind its doorways the workers are working arduous to refresh the shows, persevering with to develop the collections, and making the most of any alternatives that come up to accumulate important gadgets that inform exceptional tales.

Jeremy added: “Such essential acquisitions are solely doable by the generosity of public donations, and attributable to our short-term closure we’ve seen a big drop on this vital revenue stream.

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