Images of Witchcraft
The main change in this area is the introduction of a new display cabinet. The cabinet is an antique itself and was acquired by Simon from the Museum of Zoology in Cambridge. It is beautifully made with fantastic draws for you to explore...
This room looks at the iconography of the witch and its development, with particular emphasis on four important symbols: the cat, hat, cauldron and broom...
There are also lots of images of witchcraft in this section and they have been displayed thematically to help the visitor explore the different interpretations of witches through different mediums and time periods.
One part of the cabinet deals with witches in poetry and the influence of the eighteenth century movement known as Romanticism on the portrayal of witches. It includes a statue of Meg Merrilies and lots of items to do with Tam O’Shanter (including a fantastic new object – a 19th century stoneware jug). There is also a consideration of witches in “high art” through a study of the works Shakespeare and (an original) Goya etching.
We also have two displays on famous witches and the tourism associated with them (this includes a look at Mother Shipton and the Witch of Wookey Hole). There is a fantastic display on witches, magic and children (including a look at Hansel and Gretel, Harry Potter, Winnie the Witch, Meg and Mog…there are so many examples to look at here!)
Images of Witchcraft considers the image of the witch in film and fiction with an exploration of how the persecution period has been portrayed by different artists and filmmakers. This includes a look at the film Witchfinder General.
Finally, we have the witch as crone. This image occurs time and again and we have examples of masks, dolls, puppets and even candles.
We have also filled the draws with images of witches from advertising, literature, art, board games and even beer bottles. It is proving very popular with visitors and is a great way to begin to explore the Museum collection.