The Hart Gallery
Edward Hart was criticized by his school-master as he was not very attentive during history classes. He more than redeemed his reputation as a man with a passionate interest in antiquity by gathering together his wonderful collection collections of rare books, manuscripts and coins from east and west.
Acting on the advice of reputable London dealers, he secretively amassed his collections. He traveled down to London and surprised the booksellers by paying for rare manuscripts with suitcases full of money rather than by cheque, so his mother and sister wouldn't find out how much of the family fortune he was spending!
He bequeathed his collections to Blackburn Museum for the enjoyment of future generations of art lovers.
The exhibits on display in the newly refurbished Hart room give a fascinating insight into distant worlds. Although not a comprehensive guide to the 'history of writing' they show one man's fascination with beautiful and unusual objects gathered from ancient cultures.
Items included in the current display include;
Inscribed Tablets from Egypt from 2055 BC, giving detailed accounts from the Royal kitchen.
There are also fragments of Papyrus from the 'New Kingdom' Book of the Dead. Egyptian, dating from approximately 1300BC. Commissioned before death, they act as a 'guide book' to a happy afterlife, and were to be read during the journey into the underworld, providing guidance, granting the protection of the gods, and proclaiming the identity of the bearer.
Other exhibits include Johann Gutenburg's Mazarin Bible, which is regarded as the first printed book, dating from approximately 1452, using moveable type.
Also on display is the stunning 'Blackburn Psalter' dated approximately 1250-. Although there is no indication of the original owner, the bookplate bears the name of Eugene Marcel.
The displays are both beautiful and informative. Who would have thought that the answer to the £64,000 question on 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?' recently would have been found on display in the Hart room? Do you know who wrote the 'Hunting of the Snark'? Come and find out! We are open from Tues - Sat 10am - 4.45 pm. Tel 01254 667130 for further details. School parties are welcome by prior appointment.