Showing posts with label Natural History Museum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Natural History Museum. Show all posts

London

Highlights from Drake's first visit to London 
Drake on Westminster Bridge, designed by Thomas Page and opened in 1862 making it, after the removal of Rennie's New London Bridge in 1967, the oldest road structure crossing the Thames in central London. It was here on March 22, 2017 that another Islamic terrorist attack in London took place, starting on the bridge and continuing into Bridge Street and Old Palace Yard. Five people – three pedestrians, one police officer, and the terrorist – died with over fifty injured. A colleague of the officer who had been stationed nearby was armed and shot the attacker. During the attack MP Tobias Ellwood was pictured at the centre of a crowd of emergency workers as he tended to the officer. His brother- who had taught history at my school before I arrived- had himself been murdered in the 2002 Bali bombing after having dedicated his life to multi-cultural understanding
 
 
Trinity Place, immediately by the main entrance to the Tower Hill Circle and District line underground station dating from 200 CE, and Drake and beside the version in Rome in front of Trajan's Market.
Drake overlooking London within the London Eye


In front of Nelson's column on the left, ten years apart.
Bomb damage around St. Paul's Cathedral in 1943 as an horse and cart with the name 'T Hatcher' on it carries crates of eggs, imported from the United States as part of the Lend-Lease scheme and the site today. The cathedral itself survived the Blitz despite being struck by bombs on October 10, 1940 and April 17, 1941. The first strike destroyed the high altar, whilst the second strike on the north transept left a hole in the floor above the crypt. The latter bomb is believed to have detonated in the upper interior above the north transept and the force was sufficient to shift the entire dome laterally by a small amount. On September 12, 1940 a time-delayed bomb that had struck the cathedral was successfully defused and removed by a bomb disposal detachment of Royal Engineers under the command of Temporary Lieutenant Robert Davies. Had this bomb detonated, it would have totally destroyed the cathedral; it left an hundred foot crater when later remotely detonated in a secure location. As a result of this action, Davies and Sapper George Cameron Wylie were each awarded the George Cross. One of the best known images of London during the war was a photograph of St Paul's taken on December 29, 1940 during the "Second Great Fire of London" by photographer Herbert Mason, from the roof of a building in Tudor Street showing the cathedral shrouded in smoke. Lisa Jardine of Queen Mary, University of London, has written: Wreathed in billowing smoke, amidst the chaos and destruction of war, the pale dome stands proud and glorious—indomitable. At the height of that air-raid, Sir Winston Churchill telephoned the Guildhall to insist that all fire-fighting resources be directed at St Paul's. The cathedral must be saved, he said, damage to the fabric would sap the morale of the country.
Natural History Museum  
The Central Hall of the Natural History Museum in 1882 and Drake today. Now renamed Hintze Hall, it's the museum's largest public gallery. In 2016 the skeleton of a blue whale was suspended from the ceiling to replace the 'Dippy' cast of a Diplodocus skeleton which had previously been the Central Hall's centrepiece for 112 years. The blue whale skeleton, named 'Hope' is supposed to be a reminder of humanity's responsibility to protect our planet and is surrounded by specimens that represent the history of our solar system and life on Earth. The skeleton is roughly 82 feet long and weighs 4.5 tonnes, and had been in storage for 42 years since its stranding on sandbanks at the mouth of Wexford Harbour, Ireland in March 1891 after being injured by whalers. During its construction, workmen left a trapdoor within the whale's stomach, which they would use for surreptitious cigarette breaks. Before the door was closed and sealed forever, some coins and a telephone directory were placed inside—this soon growing to an urban myth that a time capsule was left inside. The work was completed—entirely within the hall and in view of the public—in 1938. At the time it was the largest such model in the world, at 92 feet in length. The construction details were later borrowed by several American museums, who scaled the plans further. The work involved in removing Dippy and replacing it with Hope was documented in a BBC Television special, Horizon: Dippy and the Whale, narrated by David Attenborough, which was first broadcast on BBC 2 on July 13, 2017, the day before Hope was unveiled for public display.
Temple Church
Drake at the Temple Church, a Royal peculiar built by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters, and as it appeared in 1914. It was consecrated on February 10, 1185 by Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem. During King John's reign it served as the royal treasury, supported by the role of the Knights Templar as proto-international bankers. It is famous for being a round church, a common design feature for Knights Templar churches, and for its 13th- and 14th-century stone effigies. It was heavily damaged by German bombing during the war when, on May 10 1941, German incendiary bombs set the roof of the Round Church on fire, and the fire quickly spread to the nave and chapel. The organ and all the wooden parts of the church, including the Victorian renovations, were destroyed and the Purbeck marble columns in the chancel cracked due to the intense heat. Although these columns still provided some support to the vault, they were deemed unsound and were replaced in identical form. The original columns had a slight outward lean, which architectural quirk was followed in the replacement columns. The church has since been greatly restored and rebuilt. During the renovation by the architect Walter Godfrey, it was discovered that elements of the 17th-century renovations made by Wren had survived in storage and these were replaced in their original positions. The church was rededicated in November 1958. Whilst writing the score for Interstellar, film composer Hans Zimmer chose the Temple Church for the recording of the parts of the score that included an organ, declaring how "[s]etting foot into Temple Church is like stepping into profound history...Temple Church houses one of the most magnificent organs in the world."
Drake beside the tomb of William Marshal, the "best knight that ever lived," damaged during the war. Caught on the wrong side of the civil war and condemned by his father to the gallows at age five, William Marshal defied all the odds to become England’s most celebrated knight. Born in 1147, he was used as a hostage by his father and King Stephen at just five years of age during the Civil War. Most historians agree that it was William’s charm, as well as the personality of King Stephen, that kept him alive until the end of hostilities in 1153. A leading retainer of five English kings, Marshal served the great figures of this age, from Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to Richard the Lionheart and his infamous brother John, and was involved in some of the most critical phases of medieval history, from the Magna Carta to the survival of the Angevin/Plantagenet dynasty. After being wounded in an ambush in 1168 he was ransomed by none other than Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen of Henry II, which began his lifelong association with the royal dynasty. For much of Henry’s reign his sons and queen conspired against him, and he against them. So for William to have served five kings in this family was no small achievement. As a young man, William made his living as a tournament knight where, in addition to earning wealth and fame across Europe, he became skilled in combat and the laws of chivalry. In fact 2001's A Knight’s Tale starring Heath Ledger was inspired by William’s early life. 
Drake beside a painting of the effigies as they appeared immediately after the church was bombed and at the same site. After fighting in the Holy Land, William returned to service with Henry II during several conflicts with the king’s sons. He was famous for having killed Richard the Lionheart’s horse from under him- Marshal could have despatched Richard too had he chosen to do so. Despite, or perhaps because of this, Richard took William into his service after the death of Henry. William was one of the people Richard trusted to guard his kingdom from his younger brother John when he went on crusade. Marshal’s loyalty to this royal family continued after the death of Richard when he supported John as King of England. Although the two had a very volatile relationship, since John trusted no one, William stayed loyal once again to his king throughout the First Barons’ War and the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215. On John’s death, William was nominated to act as Regent to John’s son: the nine-year-old King Henry III. His great experience in battle was key to beating the French at the 1217 Battle of Lincoln. Marshal led his army to victory in Lincoln resulting in winning the First Barons’ War for King Henry III and resisting the French invasion. Marshal’s link with the royals lasted beyond his death in 1219. Although his sons died without any children, through one of his daughters’ children Marshal was related to the last Plantagenet kings - from Edward IV to Richard III - and all English monarchs from Henry VIII onwards.

Outside Sir Winston Churchill's house at 28 Hyde Park Gate where he lived from 1945 and would eventually die in 1965. Shown is Churchill waving from a window on the eve of his 90th birthday in 1964 with a crowd of well-wishers, photographers and cameramen outside. In front of the door is shown Churchill's private detective, Edward Murray, conferring with a uniformed constable when it had been reported that Drake Winston's namesake was feeling unwell after a cold, dying a week later.
Others who lived on this same street include Virginia Woolf, Sir Jacob Epstein, and Robert Baden-Powell whose statue outside the Scouts headquarters was fortunately still standing before BLM thugs and other assorted fascists could desecrate it.

Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium, opened in 2007 on the site of the original stadium which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The FA headquarters are in the stadium.With 90,000 seats, it is the largest stadium in the United Kingdom and the second-largest stadium in Europe. Designed by Populous and Foster and Partners, the stadium is crowned by the 440 foot Wembley Arch which serves aesthetically as a landmark across London as well as structurally, supporting over 75% of the entire roof load. The stadium was built by Australian firm Multiplex at a cost of about £1.2 billion in today's money. Contrary to popular belief, Wembley Stadium does not have a retractable roof which covers the playing surface. Two partially retractable roof structures over the east and west end of the stadium can be opened to allow sunlight and aid pitch growth.In addition to England home games and the FA Cup final, the stadium also hosts other major games in English football, including the season-opening FA Community Shield, the League Cup final, the FA Cup semi-finals, the Football League Trophy, the Football League play-offs, the FA Trophy, the FA Vase and the National League play-offs. A UEFA category four stadium, Wembley hosted the 2011 and 2013 UEFA Champions League Finals, and was supposed to have hosted seven games at UEFA Euro 2020, including the final and both of the semi-finals, until China unleashed its Wuhan 'flu onto the world, relocating the games to the Allianz Arena here in Munich.
Drake in front of the Queen Victoria statue in front of Kensington Palace where Victoria was born in May 1819 and where she spent most of her early life until ascending to the throne in 1837. The statue was sculpted by Victoria's fourth daughter Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll and unveiled by Queen Victoria on June 28, 1893; it had been made to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887 but took some years to complete. Made from white marble on a Portland stone base, it depicts Victoria aged 18, seated in her coronation robes, resembling the painting of Victoria at her coronation by Sir George Hayter.  Princess Louise was reluctant to take up a commission to sculpt her mother, but was persuaded to make a model by her friend, the artist Lawrence Alma Tadema. She submitted her entry anonymously, and it was selected by the judging panel. Princess Louise was herself resident at Kensington Palace, and she sculpted the statue at her studio there. The statue suffered bomb damage during the war, with shrapnel removing its nose in 1945. The damaged nose replaced before the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, and the nose was replaced a second time for the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2012.
Built by Edward I to provide a water gate entrance to the Tower, Traitors' Gate became an entrance through which many prisoners of the Tudors arrived at the Tower of London. Its name was given before 1543, when that name is used on Anton van den Wyngaerde's panorama of London. Prisoners were brought by barge along the Thames, passing under London Bridge, where the heads of recently executed prisoners were displayed on spikes. Notable prisoners such as Sir Thomas More entered the Tower by Traitors' Gate. Although Anne Boleyn is often reported to have passed through the Traitors' Gate after her arrest, the contemporary chronicle of Charles Wriothesley recorded that Boleyn was brought through the "court gate" in the Byward Tower.
British Museum
The Portland Vase, the best known piece of Roman cameo glass which is first recorded in Rome in 1600–1601, and has been in the British Museum since 1810. It is about ten inches high and 22 inches in circumference, made of violet-blue glass, and surrounded with a single continuous white glass cameo making two distinct scenes, depicting seven human figures, a large snake, and two bearded and horned heads below the handles, marking the break between the scenes.The bottom of the vase was a cameo glass disc, also in blue and white, showing a head, presumed to be of Paris or Priam on the basis of the Phrygian cap it wears. This roundel behind Drake clearly does not belong to the vase, and has been displayed separately since 1845. It may have been added to mend a break in antiquity or after, or the result of a conversion from an original amphora form. The meaning of the images on the vase is unclear and fall into two main groups: mythological and historical, with the latter focusing on Augustus, his family and his rivals, especially given the quality and expense of the object, and the somewhat remote neo-classicism of the style, which compares with some Imperial gemstone cameos featuring Augustus and his family with divine attributes.
At 15.45 on February 7, 1845, the vase was smashed by a drunken William Mulcahy, a student who had gone missing from Trinity College who was arrested and charged with the crime of wilful damage. When his lawyer pointed out an error in the wording of the act which seemed to limit its application to the destruction of objects worth no more than five pounds, he was convicted instead of the destruction of the glass case in which the vase had sat. He was ordered to pay a fine of three pounds or spend two months in prison. The vase was pieced together with fair success in 1845 by John Doubleday, though he was unable to replace thirty-seven small fragments which had been put into a box and forgotten. By November 1948 it was decided to restore the vase again. It was dismantled by conservator J.W.R. Axtell in November 1948. The pieces were examined by D.B. Harden and W.A. Thorpe, who confirmed that the circular glass base removed in 1845 was not original. Axtell's completed reconstruction by February 1949 was only successful in replacing three of the 37 loose fragments. Today little sign of the original damage is visible, and, except for light cleaning, it is hoped that the vase should not require major conservation work for at least another century. John Keats wrote his Ode on a Grecian Urn after inspecting the Portland Vase in the British Museum. The documentary The Portland Vase - an Enigma in Glass focuses on the recreation of the vase and the skills involved in its production.

The bust of Alexander the Great in room 22 on the left reimagined as from life. Dating from the 2nd or 1st century BCE, it was acquired by the museum in Alexandria. Unlike most busts of Alexander, this one is not shown with a bent neck although this could be due to the museum's alignment of it. Across the room Drake poses in front of the busts of Greek philosophers Socrates, Antisthenes, Chrysippos and Epikouros.
         
 Roman marble bust of the emperor Antoninus Pius in military dress dating to about 140 CE, from the house of Jason Magnus, a prominent citizen of Cyrene, North Africa, now in Room 70.
Drake Winston between a pair of winged bulls from Khorsabad at the entrance of the Assyrian gallery. The pair once guarded the entrance to the royal palace of Kind Ashurnasirpal II (883 to 859 BCE) in Nimrod in northern Iraq. The Assyrians believed that the two bulls would keep evil from entering the monarch's home, according to the British Museum. In addition, the gallery boasts a gigantic standing lion that stood at the entrance to the nearby Temple of Ishtar, the goddess of war. These sculptures are displayed alongside fragments and replicas of the huge bronze gates of Shalmaneser III (858–824 BCE) from Balawat. A Black Obelisk also on display shows the same king receiving tribute from Israel and is displayed with obelisks and stelae from four generations of Assyrian kings. One item missing when we visited was the so-called Banquet Scene, widely regarded as the world’s finest single relief panel from Assyria and which was lent along with other Assyrian sculpted reliefs to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for three years because it lacks the funds to create an adequate display space for all of its collection. Although not publicly shown in Britain for thirteen years and the museum does not discuss the value of artefacts, the single panel of the Banquet Scene alone is believed to be worth around £100 million. Currently 240 Assyrian panels are on display with a further eighty in storage. 
Colossal statues of a man and a woman from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, traditionally identified as Artemisia II and Mausolos, dating from around 350 BCE.  The restorations of Mausolos can be compared with restorations to head removed. Bury in his History of Greece praises the statue
Mausolus is familiar to us, the islanders of the north, who possess in our capital the genuine portraits of himself and his queen. The British colossal statue which was made, at latest, soon after his death, presents a man of a noble cast of face, of a type presumably Carian, certainly not Greek, and with the hair curiously brushed back from the brow. This statue stood, along with that of Artemisia, within the sepulchral tomb which he probably began and which she certainly completed.
Artemisia herself is renowned in history for her extraordinary grief at the death of her husband (and brother) Mausolus, being said to have mixed his ashes in her daily drink, and to have gradually pined away during the two years that she survived him. She induced the most eminent Greek rhetoricians to proclaim his praise in their oratory; and to perpetuate his memory she built at Halicarnassus the celebrated Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and whose name subsequently became the generic term for any remarkable sepulchral monument. When Rhodes objected to the fact that a woman was ruling Caria, it sent a fleet against Artemisia without knowing that her deceased husband had built a secret harbour. Artemisia hid ships rowers, and marines and allowed the Rhodians to enter the main harbour. Artemisia and her citizens met the Rhodians at the city walls and invited them into the city. When the Rhodians began exiting their ships, Artemisia sailed her fleet through an outlet in the sea and into the main harbour, capturing empty Rhodian ships, and the Rhodian men who disembarked were killed in the marketplace. Artemisia then put her men on the Rhodian ships and had them sail back to Rhodes. The men were welcomed in the Rhodian harbour whereupon they took over Rhodes.
Beside the bust of Pericles and nearly a quarter century later with Drake Winston, located in a different area. This bust, found at Tivoli in 1781, is one of four Roman marble copies of Pericles with a Corinthian helmet as a sign of his position as strategos. Pliny the Elder Natural History (xxxiv.74) said of it: "a work worthy of the title; it is a marvellous thing about this art that it can make famous men even more famous." The bust derives from an original life-size statue bronze statue made by the sculptor Kresilas probably installed on the Acropolis shortly after the statesman's death. The nose itself has been restored, as are portions of the helmet. Pausanias described the statue as being located directly beyond the Propylaea, the gate to the Acropolis. Since this statue is not preserved and only limited information is known about it, its arrangement is unclear and its details can only be guessed at by analogies and assumptions. Pericles was not shown in a realistic fashion, but as an idealised image of the long-serving strategos. Whether he was depicted naked, clothed or in full armour is disputed. Remains of the statue's base were preserved with a dedicatory inscription. A slot in the base indicates that the statue held a spear in its left hand. The slight turning of the head indicates that the statue employed classical Contrapposto. In this way Kresilas created a kind of symbol of the Athenian democracy with this image of Pericles whilst also conforming to the broadly accepted citizen ideal of the times and employed the calm and collected facial expression which was the contemporary ideal. As a result, the realistic tendencies of Athenian art, which are found to some extent in the bust of Themistocles were abandoned. The expression is serious, showing no emotion. In this the depiction squares with self-controlled personality attributed to Pericles in the historical tradition. Behind the eyeholes of his helmet, hair, far above where his head would be expected to end, can be discerned which might hint at Pericles' unusually shaped head, which is occasionally referenced in Attic Comedy and in Plutarch's Life of Pericles (iii.2) by the abusive nickname "Leek-head": "His physical features were almost perfect, the only exception being his head, which was rather long and out of proportion. For this reason almost all his portraits show him wearing a helmet, since the artists apparently did not wish to taunt him with this deformity." This deformity was said to be the reason why Pericles was always depicted in a Corinthian helmet, since this would conceal the height of his head. The presence of the hair in the eyeholes should probably therefore be seen as the addition of a learned sculptor.
The Cyrene Apollo soon after its discovery and as it appears today. Described as "[o]ne of the most visually stunning of all the ancient sculptures displayed in the galleries of the British Museum", it dates from the 2nd century CE. The cult statue was discovered in January 1861 by Lieutenant Robert Murdoch Smith and Commander Edwin Porcher whilst excavating the site of the Temple of Apollo in the Greek and Roman settlement of Cyrene on the Libyan coast. The statue had been found broken into 121 pieces, laying near the large pedestal on which it had originally stood. The fragments were painstakingly removed from the site with great difficulty- the local Arabs were suspicious about Smith and Porcher who in turn were concerned that any finds would be destroyed as symbols of pre-Islamic pagan times and so set up camp in one of the rock cut tombs close to the city where they reburied the statues they found for their protection. The pieces were eventually reassembled in the British Museum. The statue now stands 2.29 metres high but the right arm, which was originally raised, and the left wrist and hand are missing as seen here. It appears with oddly masculine and feminine characteristics with the god presented as rather flabby. His lack of any pubic hair may have been indicated by paint- there are still remains of pigmentation in places- but its absence could also have been intended to enhance the youthful nature of the god. The hips are also rather feminine in form. The god wears a precariously draped himation slipped down over his hips and resting on his thighs; on his feet are elaborately carved sandals. In 1989 Libya asked Italy to return the Venus of Cyrene that dates from the same time and which was taken to Italy after it was found in 1913 by Italian troops near the ruins of the city and was housed in Rome’s National Roman Museum. Italy did return the statue in April 2007 which no doubt emboldened the Libyans, only 22 years after Lockerbie, to make the same demand during a two-day conference of the Council of Antiquities in Cairo in 2010.
Drake beside the fantastic bust of Caracalla, and reimagined as he would have apeared in life. 
Throughout his adult life, Caracalla wore his hair and beard clipped short, in the manner of a soldier on campaign rather than the longer hair and full beards affected by emperors since the time of Hadrian. That change in fashion easily distinguished his portraits from those of his immediate predecessors. His distinctive coin profiles, with their identifying inscriptions, made the recognition of his sculptural portraits quite easy, and those portraits have extraordinary visual power. After the assassination of Geta left Caracalla in sole control of the empire, his likenesses adopted a dramatic facial expression: a menacing frown and emphatic turn of the head, which suggests that the emperor has just noticed and turned toward a potential enemy. Viewers who meet the intense gaze of the narrow, deep-set eyes cannot help but feel themselves the object of this menacing attention. Caracalla's heavy eyebrows contract strongly, vertical and horizontal creases distort his forehead, the muscle over his eyebrows bulges in a prominent V shape, often defined by jagged furrows on each side that resemble lightning bolts, and his coarse lips pull taut into a grimace, emphasized by the deep naso-labial furrows on each side. Far from attempting to endear the ruler to the general public, these images exemplify the expression oderint dum metuunt, “let them hate me so long as they fear me." They also demonstrate that despite his rebellion against his father, he took one piece of paternal advice to heart. Severus, on his death bed, had told his sons, “Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers, and scorn all other men." The first piece of advice they both ignored, but for the remainder of his rule, Caracalla assiduously courted the support of his army, not only with financial generosity but with a public image designed to persuade them that he was one of their own. His young but weather-beaten and energetic face conveys a toughness acquired through experience on the battlefield.  
Susan Wood (297) Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome
Drake in front of the outstanding Meroë bust and beside a copy a month earlier in Munich. This head of the emperor Augustus was originally part of a statue in Egypt. The Romans used statues to remind the empire's largely illiterate population of the power of the emperor. The head was decapitated by an invading army from Meroë in modern-day Sudan. They buried the head under the temple steps as an insult to Augustus. Ironically, it was this act of defiance that preserved the head. Whilst conducting excavations for the University of Liverpool in 1910, much to his surprise, John Garstang found this classical statue head buried beneath the threshold of a temple in the Kushite royal city of Meroë. In antiquity, those entering or leaving the temple would have purposefully trod on Augustus’ head in the process, an insulting act calculated to demonstrate as much contempt and derision towards him as possible. The Meroë Head is larger than life-size and mimics Greek art by portraying Augustus with classical proportions; it was clearly designed to idealise and flatter the Emperor. This was the case for most Augustan portraiture, especially the earliest, which evoked both youthfulness and the long-admired Grecian techniques of depicting young men. Made of bronze, the eyes are inset with glass pupils and calcite irises. It is the preservation of the eyes (which are frequently lost in ancient bronze statues) which makes this statue so startlingly realistic. The emperor's head turns to his right and gazes powerfully into the distance. His hair falls onto his brow in waves that are typical of Augustus's portraits. The British Museum has several other notable bronze heads of Roman Emperors including an image of Claudius. The heads are thought to have been made locally but based on moulds created in Rome. The Meroë Head was the 35th object in A History of the World in 100 Objects, a BBC Radio 4 series first broadcast in 2010, which traces the story of human civilisation through 100 iconic objects chosen from the collection of the British Museum.
The architect’s scheme for the Duveen Gallery and how it appears today.As Mary Beard argues in her book The Parthenon,
[t]he current display in the Duveen Gallery represents a predictably awkward compromise between these two different imperatives. The sheer vastness of the gallery space signals the cultural and artistic importance of the works of art housed within it; no visitor could fail to see that they were supposed to admire. Context, history and casts (now including a hands-on display for the blind) are part of the show, but firmly relegated to two side-rooms next to the main entrance; they are not to encroach on the original marbles. The layout of the gallery does indeed gesture towards the architectural coherence of the monument itself: the pediments stand at each end of the room; the frieze runs around the central space (albeit turned ‘inside out’, to face inwards rather than outwards, as it did in its original position). But the real trick of the arrangement is to present the Elgin Marbles as if they were a complete set. Casual observers would never guess that a substantial section of the frieze still remained in Athens. And, if the architect’s original plans had been followed, they would hardly have noticed that much of the east pediment was missing either. It was only the purists among the museum staff who insisted on leaving a tell-tale gap on the plinths to mark where the key central figures had been lost. Overall the effect (and the intention) of the gallery design is to efface what remains in Athens. If the earlier regimes of display repeatedly and explicitly referred the viewer to the monument in Greece and its surviving sculpture, the Duveen effect is to squeeze that memory out. The Elgin Marbles are here meant to stand for the Parthenon itself.
Drake in front of one of the one of the most widely-recognised sculptures from the Parthenon. The east pediment of the Parthenon shows the birth of the goddess Athena from the head of her father Zeus. The event was witnessed by various figures shown on either side and filling the triangular space of the gable end of the temple. In the very corners of this triangle, the time of day was set by the chariot of Helios, god of the sun, rising at dawn, and the chariot of Selene, the Moon goddess, sinking beneath the horizon. Selene's torso is in Athens, while the head of one of her team of horses is in the British Museum. The Selene horse head we are familiar with today is all that remains of the quadriga drawn by Selene. It captures the very essence of the stress felt by a beast that has spent the night drawing the chariot of the Moon across the sky. As the unseen vehicle was shown sinking low in the west, the horse pins back its ears, the jaw gapes, the nostrils flare, the eyes bulge, veins stand out and the flesh seems spare and taut over the flat plate of the cheek bone. Though both the east and west pediments are severely damaged, fortunately the traveller Pausanias recorded descriptions of the sculptural decoration when he visited the Acropolis at the end of the second century CE, which can help us to build up a picture of what the original composition may have looked like. The horse of Selene itself was carved from Pentelic marble, and has been attributed to Phidias, one of the great sculptors of the Classical Age, who was also responsible for the  colossal chryselephantine cult statue of Athena Parthenos, which stood in pride of place inside the temple.  
Section of the 1819 painting by Archibald Archer depicting the exhibition of the Elgin marbles in their first, temporary space in the British Museum. The American painter Benjamin West and the director of the British Museum library, Joseph Planta, appear seated in armchairs on the left. The metopes are displayed high on the wall, and the running frieze is displayed at eye level. Drake is sitting next to the statue of Dionysus from the eastern pediment situated in the centre of the room, along with the head of a horse from Selene’s carriage. The artist, Archibald Archer, included himself in the painting, sketching on the bottom right. Another painter, Benjamin Haydon, recorded an opening-day visit in his diary on May 28, 1817: "We overheard two common looking decent men say to each other, 'How broken they are, a'ant they?' 'Yes,' said the other, 'but how like-life.'" Elgin had applied to the Turkish authorities and in 1801 received a letter of permission for this work, generally referred to as a firman, which was probably legal (at that time). As the noted author and Germanophile Neil Macgregor (and incidentally director of the British Museum), told the Evening Standard: "Elgin rescued some of the greatest things ever made, so the world can enjoy them. The greatest things in the world should be... shared and enjoyed by as many people in as many countries as possible."
Drake in front of the actual marbles from the eastern pediment and a copy in the ‘Acropolis’ metro station in Athens. , The section depicts the birth of Athena from Zeus’s head. Helios, the sun god, holds the reigns of his chariot, which is pulled by a pair of horses shown on the left whilst Dionysus, naked and reclining on a cape, watches the sunrise. Persephone, goddess of the underworld, relaxes against the figure of her mother, the goddess Demeter. As Beth Cohen reasonably asks
Why does no cast appear in the museologically inconsistent installation of the Erechtheion maidens? Is it because the British Museum's Kore C is so much better preserved that any full-scale cast would expose the poor condition of the Athens statues? The Parthenon east pediment's display of horse heads from Selene's chariot, for instance, sadly juxtaposes eroded originals with a contrasting cast of the British Museum's well-preserved specimen. Yet, while the museum's didactic materials repeatedly shake a finger at villainous Lord Elgin, they do not make generally clear to visitors the still-declining condition of the sculpture on the Acropolis between Greek independence in 1832 and the removal of (most) sculpture during the late 20th century. Unbecomingly, they neither accept nor admit any Greek responsibility for negative effects of prolonged neglect and inaction. Visiting the highly politicized Acropolis Museum invites museum visitors to reflect on the other side of the story.
Drake and I in front of the rescued caryatid. Cohen goes on to argue that, in fact, 
 Elgin was among the first to perceive that imperiled architectural sculptures must be removed from their original outdoor contexts. Moreover, he was the first to take actionfor the sake of conservation, and he did so at great personal expense. Yes, in the early 19th century, he removed archaeological material from its place of origin, and his team damaged the monument in the process (including cutting frieze blocks into slabs), which the Greeks emphasise exclusively. It is incontrovertible, however, that, had they remained on the Acropolis until the late 20th century, the sculptures carried off by Elgin would have been gravely damaged. Instead of continuing to attack Elgin, perhaps he ought now be hailed as an unwitting visionary with regard to documentation, preservation, and also display of antiquities.
Drake with her sisters at the Athens Archaeological Museum and at the actual site (showing how much restoration has been applied to the Erechteum).
The Egyptian Sculpture Gallery in 1875 and today. The British Museum houses the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of Egyptian antiquities with over 100,000 pieces outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. A collection of immense importance for its range and quality, it includes objects of all periods from virtually every site of importance in Egypt and the Sudan. Together, they illustrate every aspect of the cultures of the Nile Valley (including Nubia), from the Predynastic Neolithic period (c. 10,000 BCE) through Coptic times from the 12th century CE, and up to the present day, a time-span over 11,000 years. Egyptian antiquities have formed part of the British Museum collection ever since its foundation in 1753 after receiving 160 Egyptian objects from Sir Hans Sloane. After the inevitable defeat of the French forces under Napoleon at the Battle of the Nile in 1801, the Egyptian antiquities collected were confiscated by the British army and presented to the British Museum in 1803. These works, which included the Rosetta Stone, were the first important group of large sculptures to be acquired by the museum. Thereafter, the British Government appointed Henry Salt as consul in Egypt who amassed a huge collection of antiquities, some of which were assembled and transported with great ingenuity by the famous Italian explorer Giovanni Belzoni. Most of the antiquities Salt collected were purchased by the British Museum and the Louvre. 
By 1866 the collection consisted of roughly ten thousand objects as antiquities from excavations started to come to the museum in the latter part of the 19th century through the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund under the efforts of E.A. Wallis Budge. Over the years more than 11,000 objects came from this source, including pieces from Amarna, Bubastis and Deir el-Bahari. Other organisations and individuals also excavated and donated objects to the British Museum, including Flinders Petrie's Egypt Research Account and the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, as well as the University of Oxford Expedition to Kawa and Faras in Sudan. Active support by the museum for excavations in Egypt continued to result in important acquisitions throughout the 20th century until changes in antiquities laws in Egypt led to the suspension of policies allowing finds to be exported, although divisions still continue in Sudan. The British Museum conducted its own excavations in Egypt where it received divisions of finds, including Asyut (1907), Mostagedda and Matmar (1920s), Ashmunein (1980s) and sites in Sudan such as Soba, Kawa and the Northern Dongola Reach (1990s). The size of the Egyptian collections now stand at over 110,000 objects. In autumn 2001 the eight million objects forming the museum's permanent collection were further expanded by the addition of six million objects from the Wendorf Collection of Egyptian and Sudanese Prehistory. These were donated by Professor Fred Wendorf, comprising the entire collection of artefacts and environmental remains from his excavations at Prehistoric sites in the Sahara Desert between 1963 and 1997. The seven permanent Egyptian galleries at the British Museum, which include its largest exhibition space, can display only 4% of its Egyptian holdings. The second-floor galleries have a selection of the museum's collection of 140 mummies and coffins, the largest outside Cairo. A high proportion of the collection comes from tombs or contexts associated with the cult of the dead, and it is these pieces, in particular the mummies, that remain among the most eagerly sought-after exhibits by visitors to the museum.
Drake beside one of the jewels of the British Museum's collection, the Rosetta stone. On the left and right edges of the slab are written "Captured in Egypt by the British Army in 1801" and "Presented by King George III". During a military expedition on the eve of the land battle of Aboukir in 1799, Captain Bouchard, as a consequence of prebattle trenching at Rosette, came across the famous stone bearing inscriptions in two languages and three kinds of writing: hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek. The importance of this find was immediately understood by scholars. England confiscated the stone after the Eastern Army surrendered to them, and however unfortunate this loss was for French scholars, it was no hindrance to Jean-Francois champollion. Working from a copy of the stone, in 1822 he established the foundations for deciphering hieroglyphic writing. Before the end of 1802, the stone was transferred to the British Museum, where it is located today. The museum was concerned about heavy bombing in London towards the end of the Great War in 1917, and the Rosetta Stone was moved to safety, along with other portable objects of value. The stone spent the next two years fifty feet below ground level in a station of the Postal Tube Railway at Mount Pleasant near Holborn. Other than during wartime, the Rosetta Stone has left the British Museum only once: for one month in October 1972, to be displayed alongside Champollion's Lettre at the Louvre in Paris on the 150th anniversary of the letter's publication. Even when the Rosetta Stone was undergoing conservation measures in 1999, the work was done in the gallery so that it could remain visible to the public.
The main inspiration for the famous Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Nereid Monument was a sculptured tomb from Xanthos in Lycia (then part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire). The monument is thought to have stood until the Byzantine era, and eventually destroyed by Christians. The ruins were rediscovered by British traveller Charles Fellows in the early 1840s. Fellows's immediate conclusion was that the monument was to Harpagus, who is the main figure in Lycian history recorded by Herodotus, placing it in the 6th century BCE although given the style of the architecture and sculpture, it is now generally believed that the tomb in fact dates from around 390 to 380 BCE, and was probably the tomb of Arbinas. Fellows arranged for the shipping of the remains to the British Museum. Without detailed records of where each item was found, the Museum had to rely on expedition drawings, marks on the stones, and the composition and style of the sculpture to estimate how the blocks and sculptures fit together. The current reconstruction of the East façade in the museum dates from 1969. It is in room 17 of the Museum, which also houses many other parts of the monument. According to Melanie Michailidis, despite bearing a "Greek appearance", the Nereid Monument, the Harpy Tomb and the Tomb of Payava were built according main Zoroastrian criteria "by being composed of thick stone, raised on plinths off the ground, and having single windowless chambers". 
In front of the so-called Sword of Tiberius, made of iron (now heavily corroded) with the sheath of tinned and gilded bronze. The length of the sword is approximately 58 centimetres long by eight centimetres wide. The decoration on the scabbard illustrates the ceding of military victory to Augustus by Tiberius after a successful Alpine campaign. Augustus is semi-nude, and sits in the pose of Jupiter, flanked by the Roman gods of Victory and Mars Ultor ('the Avenger'), whilst Tiberius, in military dress, presents Augustus with a statuette of Victory. This prestigious weapon was likely to have been commissioned by a senior officer in the Roman army to celebrate a victory in the lengthy and bloody military campaigns in Germany. Victory in these campaigns was essential for the expansion and protection of the Roman Empire's border, and the symbolic act of presenting these victories to the emperor avoided the destructive rivalry between generals, which had previously brought down the Roman Republic. The shield on which the seated figure rests his left arm is inscribed in Latin, Felicitas Tiberi, whilst the shield held by Victory nears the legend, Vic[toria] Aug[usti]. The iron sword and its decorated bronze scabbard was almost certainly commissioned for a senior officer to commemorate a victory in the lengthy and bloody military campaigns in Germany. Victory in these campaigns was essential for the extension and protection of Rome's empire, and the symbolic act of presenting it to the emperor avoided the destructive competition between generals, which had brought down the Roman Republic. 
Victoria and Albert Museum
The David cast in the South Kensington Museum boilerhouse around 1860 and Drake Winston in front. In 1847 the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopold II, commissioned Clemente Papi to produce an exact replica of the original in bronze. In the end the sculpture was reproduced in plaster which required Papi to individually shape over 1500 mould pieces, which together all fitted inside the mother mould like a giant jigsaw puzzle. To avoid damaging the original, the marble was sealed with oil, wax or soap to enable the plaster pieces to be later released from the surface. A few years later, the Grand Duke commissioned Papi to create a second full-scale plaster replica of David. This second copy was to be delivered to Queen Victoria as a gesture of good will after the Grand Duke had vetoed the export of a painting which the National Gallery in London had hoped to acquire. It is this copy that is now on display in our Cast Courts. The cast was packed in three wooden crates for travelling to England. The cost of transportation ended up totalling more than the cost of the cast itself. Papi travelled from Florence to the Port of Livorno with the crates where they were then loaded onboard the ship, The Cheshire Witch. When the cast arrived in England, Queen Victoria donated it as a royal gift to the newly constructed South Kensington Museum, now the V&A. 
Large, modern exhibition rooms in the newly built Museum offered an ideal space in which to display the gigantic five metre high figure, and the cast was given a prominent position in a gallery comprising Italian art. When the museum opened four months later in June 1857, students, artists and craftsman flocked to the museum to admire Papi's faithful copy of Michelangelo's masterpiece. In 1873, when the new Architectural Courts (today's Cast Courts) were constructed, David was moved to the East Court where he has been on display ever since. A few years later he was moved to the other end of the gallery, and in 2012 he was moved to a more prominent position in the central axis as seen here. When Victoria first encountered the cast of David at the Museum, she was apparently so shocked by his nudity that a proportionally accurate fig leaf was commissioned to cover the genitalia. The leaf was kept in readiness for any royal visits, when it was hung on the figure using two strategically placed hooks. The original fig leaf, made by Papi, has since been lost but the V&A has a version made in 1857 in their collection.
 
National Gallery
Drake in front of Paolo Uccello's The Battle of Sant'Egidio as it appears in my copy of A.J. Grant's Outlines of European History. Also referred to as The Battle of San Romano, it  is a set of three paintings depicting events that took place at the Battle of San Romano between Florentine and Sienese forces in 1432. They are significant as revealing the development of linear perspective in early Italian Renaissance painting, and are unusual as a major secular commission. The paintings are in egg tempera on wooden panels, each over three metres long. According to the National Gallery,  the panels were commissioned by a member of the Bartolini Salimbeni family in Florence sometime between 1435 and 1460. The paintings were much admired in the 15th century; Lorenzo de' Medici so coveted them that he purchased one and had the remaining two forcibly removed to the Palazzo Medici. They are now divided between three collections, the National Gallery, the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, and the Musée du Louvre, Paris. They may represent different times of day: dawn (London), mid-day (Florence) and dusk (Paris) – the battle lasted eight hours. In this London painting, Niccolò da Tolentino, with his large gold and red patterned hat, is seen leading the Florentine cavalry. He had a reputation for recklessness, and doesn't even wear a helmet, though he sent two messengers (the departure of the two messengers, shown in the centre) to tell his allied army of Attendolo to hurry to his aid as he is facing a superior force. In the foreground, broken lances and a dead soldier are carefully aligned to create an impression of perspective. Like a tapestry, the landscape rises up in a picture plane as opposed to receding deeply into space. This illusion of a backdrop and a perspective theme resembling a stage, depicts the war as a theatrical ceremony. The three paintings were designed to be hung high on three different walls of a room, and the perspective designed with that height in mind, which accounts for many apparent anomalies in the perspective when seen in photos or at normal gallery height. The panels were a subject in the BBC series The Private Life of a Masterpiece (2005).
In front of Turner's The Fighting Temeraire, depicting the ship being tugged to her last berth to be broken up. Painted in 1838, it shows the 98-gun HMS Temeraire, one of the last second-rate ships of the line to have played a role in the Battle of Trafalgar, being towed up the Thames by a paddle-wheel steam tug in 1838, towards its final berth in Rotherhithe to be broken up for scrap. In a poll organised by BBC Radio 4's Today programme in 2005, it was voted the nation's favourite painting. The beauty of the old warship is in stark contrast to the dirty blackened tugboat with its tall smokestack, which scurries across the still surface of the river. The Sun setting symbolises the end of an epoch in the history of the British Royal Navy. Behind Temeraire, a gleaming sliver of the waxing Moon casts a silvery beam across the river, symbolising the commencement of the new, industrial era. The demise of heroic strength is the subject of the painting, and it has been suggested that the ship stands for the artist himself, with an accomplished and glorious past but now contemplating his mortality. Turner called the work his "darling", which may have been due to its beauty, or his identification with the subject. Turner had taken some artistic licence with the painting. The ship was known to her crew as "Saucy", rather than "Fighting" Temeraire. Before being sold to the ship-breaker John Beatson, the ship had been lying at Sheerness Dockyard, and was then moved to his wharf at Rotherhithe, then in Surrey but now in Southwark. Her masts and rigging had already been removed before her sale and journey to the breaker's yard. All of her cannon, anchors and assorted hardware had been removed and salvaged for the navy to use as spare parts. She was towed by two tugboats, not just one, and in the other direction (the sun sets in the west, while the Thames estuary is at the river's eastern end). In 2020 the painting was included on the new £20 note as seen here. 
In front of Piero di Cosimo's Satyr Mourning over a Nymph which, according to the gallery's guidebook, depicts the death of Procris, daughter of the king of Athens, who was accidentally killed by her husband Cephalus during a deer hunt. Several inconsistencies between the depiction and the actual myth have been noted such as the absence both of her husband- being mourned instead by a faun rather than her husband- and the deadly spear as well as the unusual location of her wounds. Recently it has been posited that there is a darker side to the painting. Michael Baum, one of Britain's leading cancer experts and a keen art critic, argues that it does not depict the accidental death that Ovid wrote about but rather "is a painting about a murder, and a very nasty one at that." He focuses on her hands, both of which "are covered with deep lacerations. There is only one way she could have got those. She has been trying to fend off an attacker who has come at her, slashing in a frenzied manner with a knife or possibly a sword. Certainly there is no way that a spear could have done that." Further clues include the woman's left hand which is bent backward, in a position known by surgeons as "the waiter's tip", typical of someone who has received a serious injury at points C3 and C4 on the cervical cord. The severing at these points causes nerve damage that makes the wrist flex and the fingers curl up in the manner of a waiter taking a backhanded tip. Intriguingly, Cosimo may still have been trying to depict the death of Procris and may simply have been the victim of his own acute observational powers. "I think he may well have gone to a mortuary and asked to be allowed to paint the body of a young woman and got the body of one who had been murdered by knife – and so he faithfully put on to his canvas what he saw..." This site however calls such an interpretation into question.
At the Imperial War Museum in Southwark and when members of the cast of the TV series Dad’s Army visited in 1974. The Imperial War Museum in London was founded in 1917 to collect andhouse records of the Great War. It opened in June 1920 in Crystal Palace, Sydenham, moving in 1924 to South Kensington. It was eventually installed in Bethlem Hospital, Lambeth, in 1936, and its collections were doubled by the Second World War. Between 1989 and 1992, with more recent wars added to its remit, it was refurbished as a populist and vividly-accessible museum, suitable for a family outing. It's the largest and most prominent institution in an enormous range spanning regimental museums, local authority collections and local or private initiatives to preserve memorabilia and document a specific war experience. There is concern that when the Imperial War Museum insists on rebranding itself 'new', it effaces its own history, including, for example, its original justification in 1917 as a museum founded to commemorate 'the war to end all wars' - a rationale that weakened and collapsed in the 1930s with the rise of fascism and the growing prospect of another world war. As to what the Museum now offers or means, a former Director recently declared it "perhaps the most comprehensive museum of the twentieth century in existence", aiming to leave one, according to the guidebook, to draw one's own conclusions. However, there is criticism that its installation clearly implies that pre-1914 was a lost golden age, thereby reinforcing the idea that the war involved transition from innocence to experience. Not only does this repress how much the Edwardian period was riven by class struggle, problems in Ireland, the militancy of the Suffragettes and even imminent revolution, it also fits in with the terms of nineteenth-century evolutionary thought, promoting a vision of war as an unequivocal moving forward or backward in the life of the nation. Regardless, it implies that the years 1914-1918 might be comprehended in a single and all-encompassing point of view.

Drake above the atrium with a Supermarine Spitfire MK.IA.
One of the Nazi eagles Soviet troops captured after the conquest of Berlin, a bronze work of Kurt Schmid-Ehmen from the Reichskanzlei which can be seen today at the Imperial War Museum after the British were given it by the Soviets in 1946, shown here with Drake Winston. One of the central symbols of the power of Hitler was the dismantled building complex of the New and Old Reich Chancellery and the Palais Borsig from 1949 to 1953 under orders of the Soviet Control Commission. After 1945 the use of saline marble (a red limestone and a petrographic sense not a genuine marble) was used and it was reported that floor and wall claddings of the New Reich Chancellery were reused for the foyers of the Humboldt University and the Old Palais, the Mohrenstraße underground station and the Soviet memorials at Treptow Park, Tiergarten and Schönholzer Heide although there is no direct proof for this. Roberto Rossellini's 1947 film Deutschland im Jahre Null have scenes in the ruins of the New Reichskanzlei in which it can be seen that the floor coverings have already been removed in the area of the Marmorgalerie.  During the foundation work for new buildings on the corner of Vossstraße and Ebertstrasse, the fragments of former window sections or roof cornices were recovered in February 2008. Today a panel of the Foundation's Topography of Terror recalls the building. The subsoil was rebuilt with multi-storey flat construction during the East German era. In the street corner of the ground floor is now a Chinese restaurant.
Drake in front of the Cutty Sark, the pinnacle of clipper ship design and was one of the fastest ships of its day. It achieved remarkably fast passage times under her Master Richard Woodget, and became the dominant ship in bringing wool from Australia to England. Launched on 22 November 1869 in Dumbarton, Scotland, it embarked on its maiden voyage from London to Shanghai on 16 February 1870. On its first voyage, Cutty Sark carried ‘large amounts of wine, spirits and beer’, and came back from Shanghai loaded with 1.3 million pounds of tea. It had been built to last for just thirty years but served as a working ship for fifty-two years, a training ship for twenty-two years and has been open to visitors in Maritime Greenwich for sixty years. Cutty Sark was built for the China tea trade but would carry a vast array of cargoes during its career. Cutty Sark carried almost 10 million lbs of tea between 1870 and 1877. The opening of the Suez Canal marked the end for sailing ships in the tea trade and so Cutty Sark had to find new employ. It transported a variety of cargoes, including over 10,000 tons of coal, before finding its calling in the Australian wool trade. It would transport more than 45,000 bales in its career. It survived a dismasting in the First World War and a terrible fire in 2007. The year before the majority of Cutty Sark’s original fabric had been removed which fortunately meant that, whilst devastating, the fire was nowhere near as destructive as it could have been. Over 90% of the ship’s hull structure is original to 1869. Today it's home to the world’s biggest collection of figureheads – the carved wooden figures that adorn ships’ prows – thanks to a bequest by an eccentric maritime history lover.

Greenwich
View of Queens House and Canary Wharf from Greenwich Park. Due to its commanding views over the River Thames, the Isle of Dogs and the City of London, Simon Jenkins rated the view of the Royal Hospital with Canary Wharf in the distance as one of the top ten in England. At the northern edge is the National Maritime Museum and Queen's House, and beyond those Greenwich Hospital. To the east is Vanbrugh Castle. To the south is Blackheath and in the south western corner is the Ranger's House, looking out over the heath. The park was landscaped in the 17th century with the public first allowed into the park during the 18th century. Samuel Johnson visited the park in 1763 and commented "Is it not fine?" As seen in the comparison views, the park has undergone numerous changes, including the loss in the 1970s of many trees due to Dutch Elm Disease. According to the 1812 tree survey, nearly half the trees were elm, but by 1976 only 44 remained and all of these had gone by 1999. In 1993 the Royal Parks Agency was established and given executive responsibility for managing and policing the Royal Parks, including Greenwich. In 1997 the whole park, along with neighbouring properties and part of the town centre, was inscribed onto UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites for a number principal reasons: as a Royal Park enjoyed and modified by kings, notably Henry VIII, James I and Charles II; it forms the setting for a large number of listed buildings, most importantly Inigo Jones's Queen's House (now part of the National Maritime Museum) and Christopher Wren's Flamsteed House; the original Royal Observatory for the outstanding interest of some of its designed landscape elements such as the parterre and giant steps, an inter-related pair of garden earthworks, which form legible remains of the core of one of the earliest great formal gardens in the French style; as the setting of a scheduled Roman temple and a scheduled group of Anglo-Saxon barrows, on a ridge overlooking the River Thames; and as part of the ensemble of historic features that contribute to the international significance of the maritime and royal heritage of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site.
Drake in the Octagon Room at Flamsteed House and as it appears in plate 2 from Ichnographia speculae Regiae Grenovici exquisite facta, a series of engravings commissioned by Sir Jonas Moore in 1676, mathematician and patron of astronomy was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1674 and the leading force in the construction and equipping of the original Royal Greenwich Observatory. The engraving itself shows three astronomers at work, one at a table making notes whilst two others use a quadrant and a refracting telescope to view the sky through open windows. At the back of the room are three inset clocks including the pair of timekeeping instruments made by Thomas Tompion for the observatory on the instruction of Sir Jonas Moore. These clocks are now in the British Museum and at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Above them are portraits of Charles II and James, Duke of York, later James II. The plate bears the inscription: "PROSPECTUS INTRA CAMERAM STELLATAM". The room was created by Sir Christopher Wren as part of his original Royal Observatory design, commissioned by Charles II. It was designed so that the Astronomer Royal could observe celestial events in the night sky. It's a rare example of a Christopher Wren designed interior. For this reason, the room has huge windows but the positioning of Flamsteed House was not ideal given that none of the walls was  aligned with a meridian meaning positional observations were not possible.However, the Octagon Room remains of historical importance because it is one of the few Christopher Wren-designed interiors that one can see in London today.
Drake looking at the bright red Time Ball atop the Royal Observatory's Octagon Room of Flamsteed House, which is one of the world's earliest public time signals, first used in 1833 and still operating today. Every day at 12.55 the time ball rises half way up its mast. At 12.58 it rises all the way to the top. At 13.00 exactly the ball falls, providing a signal to anyone who happens to be looking. The reason why noon had not been chosen was because astronomers at the observatory would record when the Sun crossed the meridian at that time on that day. On the rare occasions where the ball could get stuck due to icing or snow, and if the wind was too high it would not be dropped. In 1852, it was established to distribute a time signal by the telegraph wires also. The time ball was extremely popular with the public, chronometers, railways, mariners, and there was a petition to have another time ball established in Southampton also. Astronomers have long used the Royal Observatory as a basis for measurement. Four separate meridians have passed through the buildings, defined by successive instruments. The basis of longitude, the meridian that passes through the Airy transit circle, first used in 1851, was adopted as the world's Prime Meridian at the International Meridian Conference at Washington, D.C. on October 22, 1884 afer which nations across the world used it as their standard for mapping and timekeeping. The Prime Meridian was marked by a brass (later replaced by stainless steel) strip in the Observatory's courtyard once the buildings became a museum in 1960, and, since December 16, 1999, has been marked by a powerful green laser shining north across the London night sky.
Drake on the line of the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. The line itself had been established by Sir George Airy in 1851, and by 1884 over two-thirds of all ships and tonnage used it as the reference meridian on their charts and maps. In October of that year, at the behest of American President Chester A. Arthur, 41 delegates from 25 nations met in Washington, D.C. for the International Meridian Conference which selected the meridian passing through Greenwich as the official prime meridian due to its popularity. The plane of the prime meridian is parallel to the local gravity vector at the Airy transit circle (51°28′40.1″N 0°0′5.3″W) of the Greenwich observatory and had been long symbolised by a brass strip in the courtyard. Today it has been replaced by stainless steel, and since December 16, 1999 has been marked by a powerful green laser shining north across the London night sky. In fact, GPS receivers show that the marking strip for the prime meridian at Greenwich is not exactly at zero degrees, zero minutes, and zero seconds but at approximately 5.3 seconds of arc to the west of the meridian (meaning that the meridian appears to be 102.478 metres east).
Drake inside the 'Great Equatorial Building'  at the Royal Observatory which houses its 28-inch refractor telescope where it was first installed in 1893. It's the largest of its kind in Britain and the seventh largest in the world. The telescope is noted for its spherical dome which extends beyond the tower, nicknamed the "onion" dome and was originally manufactured in 1893 from an iron grid and papier-mâché. This dome however would eventually be damaged in a V-1 flying bomb strike in 1944 during the war and was taken down in 1953. When the telescope was moved back to Greenwich in 1971, a new dome made of fibreglass in the style of the older dome was installed. The telescope was re-commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II in May 1975 after it was brought back from Herstmonceux in Sussex. It was placed in the renovated original dome at Greenwich for the tricentennial celebration of the observatory.
Drake in front of Harrison's first sea clock (H1) which took Harrison five years to build before demonstrated it to members of the Royal Society who spoke on his behalf to the Board of Longitude which had overseen a system of inducement prizes offered by the British government
through an Act of Parliament (the Longitude Act) in 1714 for a simple and practical method for the precise determination of a ship's longitude at sea. This particular clock was the first proposal that the Board considered to be worthy of a sea trial. In 1736, Harrison sailed to Lisbon on HMS Centurion under the command of Captain George Proctor and returned on HMS Orford after Proctor died at Lisbon on October 4, 1736. The clock lost time on the outward voyage but had  performed well on the return trip- both the captain and the sailing master of the Orford praised the design. The master noted that his own calculations had placed the ship sixty miles east of its true landfall which had been correctly predicted by Harrison using H1. Although not the transatlantic voyage demanded by the Board of Longitude, but the Board was impressed enough to grant Harrison £500 for further development.
On the right is Harrison's third sea clock (H3) for which Harrison spent seventeen years working on. Despite every effort, it did not perform exactly as he would have wished given that Harrison had not fully understand the physics behind the springs used to control the balance wheels and thus the timing of the wheels was not isochronous, a characteristic that affected its accuracy. The engineering world was not to fully understand the properties of springs for such applications for another two centuries. Nevertheless it had proved a very valuable experiment as much was learned from its construction and through it Harrison left the world two enduring legacies – the bimetallic strip and the caged roller bearing.

At Abbey Road back in the 1990s