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The best things are the least expected



Ben

I’m afraid the blog has had a cold today and yesterday. I’ve been in bed all day.  So, sorry for being late. Can I say, before kind offers of sympathy, that I really don’t mind being sort of ill too much at all? Ill enough not to get up; not so ill that you can’t do anything. So it turned out to be a different sort of productive day. I thought about quite a few things, in between sleeping, and filed a couple of articles that were well past their deadline. But every time I tried to get up it was a disaster. That sort of ill. Everything worked so long as you didn’t do too much.

Yesterday, I had set out that I was going to write about a little subject that has become quite close to my heart recently; Roger Hargreaves’ brilliant series of books about Roundies and Squaries. It’s always a nice thought when you know the blog. And for a little while I’ve been hunting down Roundies and Squaries and I think I’ve found the last one.

Charlie and I drove up from Dorset early. It was a grey day, rather miserable, and there wasn’t a mass to do down there; that’s what happens when you’ve both got a cold. All change from a hectic and hilarious Friday evening Quiz night in the village hall. So we got home and were unloading bags and found what felt like a thousand people on the ground floor.

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That’s what happens from time to time when you live at the Art Workers Guild, possibly the most unpredictable building in the whole of London.

We had no idea what was going on, but it turned out to be the one-day-only tabletop museum.  Brothers of the Guild had come together to display their tabletop collections. We’d never seen anything like it. This is the guild at its craziest. I love it.

For instance – Beards, Bonnets, Bicycles and Bad Boys, A collection of late 19th and early 20th century photographs:

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A plastic thimble roundup:P1040838 P1040839

British Bricks, with their beautiful typographic markings:
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Cottages and Castles, which was a dream:P1040844 P1040845 P1040846 P1040847

The Pear-Ovum Museum (yes, you are right… twins):P1040849 P1040850 P1040851 P1040852 P1040853 P1040854

Nordic Souvenirs from the 70s:
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My favourite of all, a collection of Butchers Bags:P1040856 P1040858

I didn’t even get to see what this one was (I’m afraid we didn’t get to look at every exhibit. The place was completely overwhelming):P1040859

A Gay doll collection:P1040860 P1040861 P1040862

(incidentally for wallpaper aficionados the wonderful self-portrait behind, left, is a younger Marthe Armitage. Past Master Armitage is one of the great wallpaper designers of our age. You can read about her here, on my friend Ruth Guilding’s brilliant blog).

There was a tabletop collection of feathers:

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And of New Forest Toys (with quite a nice collection of eccentric hats in the background):P1040865 P1040866

A collection of items with dots:
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Monica (the guild secretary)’s new dog, Lola:
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And the best collection of misfits and strange folk from around the country…. The brothers of the Art Workers Guild, in their beautiful hall which celebrates its 100-year anniversary in 2014.P1040873

Bro. Stephen Fowler has curated the exhibition (read his blog here for a dip into other worlds):P1040875

And the cake was delicious.P1040877

We staggered upstairs. I’m afraid I was too tired to write it all down. And my own tabletop collection, of Roundy and Squary books, is going to have to wait for a blog for another day. Believe me, that’s going to be a blog worth waiting for.P1040878

What would be on your tabletop museum?

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