Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Ulster Museum, Belfast

The Ulster Museum is located in Belfast's Botanic Gardens and has around 8,000 square metres of public display space, featuring material from the collections of Fine and Applied Art, Archaeology, Ethnography, Treasures from the Spanish Armada, Local History, Numismatics, Industrial Archaeology, Botany, Zoology and Geology (to name but a few). Wikipedia

The Museum was founded as the Belfast Natural History Society in 1821 and began exhibiting in 1833. It has included an art gallery since 1890. In 1929, the museum moved to its present location, the new building was designed by James Cumming Wynne. A major extension by Francis Pym was begun in 1962 and opened in 1964. It is in the Brutalist Style,praised by David Evans for the “almost barbaric power of its great cubic projections and cantilevers brooding over the conifers of the botanic gardens like a mastodon”. (and people like me think it looks like huge blocks of concrete)
... but I do like this window fashioned in the shape of a ship's prow.

Lore has it that a naked woman on board a ship would calm the seas. That's why many vessels have a bare breasted figurehead of a woman on the bow. Superstition amongst sailors said that the figurehead should have eyes to find a way through the seas when lost, while her bare breast would shame a stormy sea into calm.