For twelve years I worked in education at the Powerhouse, one of Australia largest museums. Its collecting area is technology and design, with a focus on social history. I taught everything from how to make bobbin lace to how to calculate the mechanical advantage of a rotative steam engine. As the end of the second millenium drew near, I came up with a brilliant idea (at least, I thought it was) for an exhibition: "Anno Domini 2000", with each century of Christianity, twenty of them, represented by a key object (or group of objects), surrounded by other objects, labels, pictures and ephemera. I had a wish list of objects that I wanted to see in that exhibition.
I approached the head of the collections division, with my proposal. Jennifer looked very doubtful and said that it was not possible because she was organising an exhibition which was to be called "My favourite things...."
Hummmph!.....up to that moment, I had never really wanted to be the head of anything.... It was a very interesting exhibition, as some of Jennifer's favourite things, were, inevitably, my favourite things as well....
But what I really wanted was an exhibition that included an Early Christian sarcophagus, a fragment of Byzantine mosaic or carving, a piece of Coptic textile, an ancient Orthodox icon, a bejewelled and enamelled Gospel cover, a really beautiful Book of the Hours, an early printed Bible, a 13th century statue (I know who has a very nice one), a French Medieval ivory carving, a stained glass window, an embroidered cope, a late medieval altarpiece, an important Baroque painting by Rubens or Rembrandt, an early Book of Common Prayer, the museum's spectacular altar frontal in Spanish reticular lace, a piece of church furniture designed by Edmund Blacket, and a few fascinating but doubtful odds and ends like a reliquary with a milk tooth of the Blessed Virgin or a handkerchief soaked in the blood of St Francis of Assisi.
My favourite things definitely include raindrops on roses. I took the photos. The variety is Jane Austin. They are a pretty pale orange that fades to beige, but have very little scent and are not good for cutting.