For GameTale 2016, we have in total 5 game objects, reproductions of museum artefacts kindly offered by the National Trust (NT) UK and the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI). Gametellers will select at least one of those objects as a base for their game.
The NT is offering an antique (1) Urn from Dyrham Park, one of their properties between Bath and Bristol. The BRLSI is instead offering: (2) a sculpture from Gahna made of two pieces, a Leopard and a drum, (3) a Romano British bronze brooch, (4) the tooth of a giant ichthyosaur and the (5) complete skull of Pelagosaurus typus.
Blue and White small Urn, currently located at Dyrham Park, a property of the National Trust between Bath and Bristol. Delft, circa 1690s
The urn is symmetrical across the horizontal axis with two distinct faces with different designs. One side depicts a martial scene with four horses and riders in classical military dress, supported by a foot soldier. The other side depicts a central seated queen: enthroned, under a canopy, above a mat, wearing a crown and holding a sceptre. The queen is supported by two classically dressed soldiers to the left, individually with shield and spear, while to the right are three maidservants in classical dress. Each carries a gift: one a large plate with small round food items – which the queen reaches out for – another carries a large vessel. The twin scenes suggest an allusion to the joint monarchy of William and Mary, and perhaps more closely identifiable with the brief period between their accession in 1689 and Mary’s premature death 1694. During this period when William was at war each summer, Mary would rule individually in his absence.
The urn is marked with the maker’s mark ‘AK’. This was for Adrianus Kocx, the owner of the principal faience pottery in Delft called ‘De Grieksche A’ – ‘The Greek A’. The Greek A was the favoured supplier of Delft to Queen Mary, providing many ornaments primarily for the display of flowers. This urn would have great resonance for William Blathwayt, the owner of Dyrham Park and Secretary at War for William III. Be it a personal purchase for the house, or perhaps, fancifully, a gift from William III, it is nevertheless yet another example of how Blathwayt created a multi-media and all-encompassing environment at Dyrham, which at every opportunity reflected and affirmed William Blathwayt’s loyalty to William and Mary through a shared aesthetic programme.
LEOPARD WITH DRUM
Form Coastal Gahna, these two connected objects were collected by Major Arthur Augustus Hamlet Inglefield between 1890 and 1894.
The Fante, who made this drum, regard the leopard as a royal animal, symbolising power and wisdom. Therefore, it is likely that this drum is connected to ceremonies of a chief or the king of the Fante community. During the so called “Scramble for Africa”, initiated by the Berlin Conference, Britain received a substantial amount of territory on the African continent. The Asante kingdom (today’s Ghana) and Nigeria were from then on part of the British colonies. Collecting was seen as the primary way to gain knowledge about the foreign peoples during the colonial era
This circular bronze brooch was made during the first or second century AD, and was then excavated from Lansdown Sept. 1905.
Jewels have existed since antiquity, using different materials and techniques. Precious metal such as gold was typical of Greaco-Roman design, while Celtic taste preferred bronze ornaments. Common non-precious ornaments, such as this Romano-British bronze brooch, are particularly relevant to understand better Romano-British life and society. This brooch is a Roman piece of jewellery, as well as an example of Gaulish enamel work and Celtic symbolism. We need to use our imagination to envisage to original appearance of this ornament, for example if it was brightly polished or not. We can also imagine that originally the 6 small circular sockets held enamel inlay (or jewels?).
This tooth was once part of a giant ichthyosaur, Temnodontosaurus eurycephalus, about 190 million years old, from Lyme Regis. The Temnodontosaurus eurycephalus was a marine reptile, appearing somewhat like a reptilian dolphin, which grew to approximately 9 meters long, one of the largest ichthyosaurs from this time. Ichthyosaurs where common animals in the Mesozoic era, it shared the world with the terrestrial dinosaurs, but was not a dinosaur itself. Most ichthyosaurs ate squid like animals or fish, but this Ichthyosaur may well have eaten smaller marine reptiles.
Charles Moore collection at the BRLSI. Discovered from Strawberry Bank (Upper Lias; Lower Jurassic), north of Ilminster, Somerset, England
One of the most intriguing groups of crocodylomorphs to evolve and diversify through the Mesozoic was Thalattosuchia — a specialised group of marine-adapted crocodiles. Thalattosuchia is made up of two monophyletic families, the near-shore Teleosauridae and pelagic Metriorhynchidae, and one species, Pelagosaurus typus, whose phylogenetic affinity remains a point of contention. This specimen is the most complete Pelagosaurus typus skull on record. Through its examination, the skull was shown to possess the majority of teleosaurid apomorphies including: four premaxillary teeth; small prefrontal; lachrymal visible in dorsal aspect; presence of mandibular fenestrae; dermal armor; and a straight tail. Thus, based on the analysis of discrete morphological characters and skull shape patterns, Pelagosaurus currently appears to be a teleosaurid.