Last week, after I dropped Alma off for her interview at the Architectural Association, I headed for the British Museum.alm1049

It’s just on the far side of Bedford Square and then one more short block.  I was stunned by these plane (I think) trees in Bedford Square.  Even though we have some remarkable ash and birch trees near our house Norway’s climate must be harsh enough that the deciduous trees never become this magnificent. These are perfect , like actors on a stage, and yet when they were planted a couple of hundred years ago who had the foresight to envision this for their great-great grandchildren – or was it just chance?


Currently hovering over the square is this high-tech crane cab. It’s actually located above the British Museum and may be something to do with the new underground line (London is always building a new underground line, it’s a big Swiss cheese down there).


It made a plumed hat for the pedimented row houses:


On either side of the entrance to the Rosetta Stone gallery are these two silent gents:


They are very similar in everything but the stone they are carved from, and that makes all the difference to their appearance.


This gold, ceremonial helmet I showed last time I went to the BM; this time it’s not blurry. It’s inscribed with the name king Meskalamdug (“hero of the good land”) and was discovered at the Royal Cemetery at Ur in 1924 by the archeologist Leonard Wooley.  Actually, it’s what the BM calls an electrotype, an exact metal copy of the original. Until recently, the original was living quite happily in the museum in Baghdad, but now it’s missing, a casualty of the war.  I wonder what hung from the little holes along the lower rim, possibly some leather padding. I like the idea of wearing a hat decorated with the hair and ears it encloses – wearing your body on the outside – why don’t we do that nowadays?  It’s an unexplored fashion theme. If I were a clothes designer I’d spend all my time here, looking for inspiration (and finding it).


This one is also from Ur. A gold head-dress and beads worn by a Sumerian woman in about 2600 BC, apparently:


Some years ago an archeologist and farmer called Basil Brown


dug up a helmet in a field in Suffolk.  Part of the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon treasure.  This is a recreation made by the Royal Armouries (the decoration on the original was in tiny fragments).

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Imagine meeting him coming up the beach.  Quite sinister.

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Science fiction portrayals – Darth Vader & co. – are pretty feeble when you look at what we have in real life.