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The online catalogue does not include details of all our collections. Contact us for further information on collections not yet featured online.

Love Brings Solace and Joy

01/02/202107:0028/01/2021 11:06Leave a Comment

This gold ring is an item of jewellery known as a posy or posie ring. Posy rings were popular from the medieval period onwards. The name derives from the French for poetry, a reference to the short sayings with which these rings were inscribed. Worn as finger rings they were typically used as love tokens […]

Chinese Ceramic Highlights

26/01/202112:1726/01/2021 12:21

Small porcelain dish painted with symbols of longevity and good fortune. Qing dynasty, Yongzheng period, 1723-1735 1938.P.44 This small porcelain dish is beautifully painted with underglaze and overglaze decoration, all of which is highly symbolic. The interior shows five bats flying between a peach tree and ocean waves. The peach tree is associated with immortality […]

23. Madonna and Child

23/12/202003:0016/12/2020 10:59

The image of the Virgin Mary (or Madonna) and Christ child are central to traditional Christian imagery associated with Christmas. For his sculpture made in stoneware depicting the Madonna and Child, ceramics artist, Phil Eglin draws upon the devotional images of the Virgin Mary with the infant Christ often seen in Renaissance art.

21 – Reindeer in Staffordshire

20/12/202019:18

Did you know there was a time when you didn’t have to wait until Christmas to see a Reindeer in North Staffordshire? The proof can be found among our archaeology collections. In the caves of the Staffordshire Peak District,  in the Manifold and Hamps Valley, archaeologists excavated animal remains dating back beyond 12,000 years ago […]

20. Snowy Owl

20/12/202003:0017/12/2020 09:53

As the name suggests, snowy owls are found in arctic regions, with their white feathers providing camouflage against the snow. Unlike most owls, they are usually active during the day. They are not often seen in the British Isles, occasionally venturing as far south as the Cairngorms in Scotland during the breeding season, but they […]

11. “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas…”

11/12/202015:32

In this painting, nineteenth-century artist, John O’Connor, captures a snowy view from the National Gallery in London in 1881. For many of us, snow is synonymous with Christmas – the movies, the songs, Advent calendars and Christmas cards –  although white Christmases are much less common than they used to be in the UK. White […]

10. The Christmas Star

10/12/202010:03

The Three Kings by David Jones. Engraving, dated 1926. The words, ‘Omnes de Saba Venient’, are taken from the prophecy of Isaiah in the Bible (Chapter 60:6). ‘All shall come from Sheba bringing gold and frankincense, and showing forth praise to the Lord.’ This print from our Fine Art collection illustrates the story of the […]

6. Christmas Cards

06/12/202003:0010/12/2020 09:08

It’s early December and time to write the Christmas cards. The tradition of sending Christmas greetings goes back a very long way. A letter dating from 1534 is the first known to include the phrase, ‘Merry Christmas’.  The first recorded Christmas cards were actually sent to King James I of England and his son, the […]

5. Stockings

05/12/202003:0010/12/2020 09:07

Don’t forget to hang up your stockings (or socks) ! This young girl darning stockings in front of a cosy fire is Mary Cartlidge, daughter of the Potteries artist, ceramic modeller and decorator, George Cartlidge (1868–1961). The origin of the popular Christmas tradition of leaving stockings out for Santa (or Father Christmas) is attributed to […]

Through the Wardrobe

30/11/202013:0910/12/2020 09:11

16/11/2019 – 22/12/2019 Step through the wardrobe and enter the enchanted forest of Narnia frozen in perpetual winter. Stand beneath the lamp-post and see the White Witches sleigh surrounded by some magical objects from the museum’s collections.