The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in Canterbury is the quirky name recently given to Canterbury’s city museum.
In reorganising and redisplaying the museum the curators have made a conscious effort to emphasise the range and variety of individual collections that make up the whole. The local nature of these has often allowed the curators to make connections between them and outwards to the wider world.
There are some great pots from Pre-dynastic Egypt and a lovely local Saxon cup. The thing that caught my eye most was the collection of doll’s house furnishings.
In the ‘basement’ part of the doll’s house case is a vast collection of small versions of all kinds of domestic pottery and ceramics. Quite apart from the quantity the first thing that struck me about them was the range of types and wares.
Here is a miniature reflection of the global connections explored elsewhere in the museum. There are all manner of things including tiny porcelain vases from China and Japan, beer steins from Germany, English toby jugs, folk pottery pieces from central or eastern Europe as well as enamelled and transfer-printed china from Staffordshire and elsewhere in Europe. You could build a narrative about global trade and cultural exchange almost without leaving the case.
One to look for: a tiny German porcelain mug inscribed ‘A Present From Cardiff.’