Discover the Objects for GT 2017!

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For GameTale 2017, we have in total 3 game objects, reproductions of museum artefacts kindly offered by the National Trust (NT) UK, the Holburne Museum and the Library at the University of Bath. Gametellers will select one of those objects as a base for their game.

The NT is offering no less than (1) the Palladian bridge at Prior Park; (2) the Holburne Museum is offering a curious Netsuke figurine representing the Legend of the Badger Tea Kettle; and directly from the collection of the University of Bath we got (3) Sir Isaac Pitman’s death mask.

Palladian Bridge

Probably Prior Park’s best known feature, the Palladian Bridge, is an elegant and eye-catching example of architecture. The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park Landscape Garden was built in 1755, the last of three of its kind built in England. It was created in the 18th century by local entrepreneur Ralph Allen, with advice from ‘Capability’ Brown and the poet Alexander Pope. Palladian architecture reached the height of its popularity in England during the 18th century.

The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park, Bath

Venetian architect Andrea Palladio inspired the building of structures such as the bridges at Prior Park and at Stourhead. Palladio himself was influenced by the classical architecture of the ancient Greeks and the ancient Romans.

Seeking to revive the principles which underpinned ancient Roman architecture, he stressed the importance of proportion, symmetry, and the correct use of the Classical orders.

His influence was magnified by a series of important publications, not least his Four Books of Architecture (I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura), published in 1550.

Palladio’s vision was brought to England in the early seventeenth century. A key figure in this process was the architect Inigo Jones (1573-1652), who made several trips to Italy, acquired a copy of the Four Books of Architecture, and collected original drawings by Palladio.

Never a plagiarist, the strong influence of Palladio’s ideas can, however, still be seen in Jones’ projects for the Royal family: the Queen’s House at Greenwich, Banqueting House in Whitehall, and Queen’s Chapel in St James’, London.

Although the principles of Palladianism never ceased to be influential, the advent of the English Civil War in 1642 and Jones’ death a decade later in 1652 brought to a halt this great state-sponsored Palladian movement.

In the 1710s, nonetheless, a generation of architects began self-consciously to revive what they saw as the purity of Palladio’s vision – a process aided by the first complete translation of the Four Books of Architecture into English from 1716.  A leading figure in this was the Earl of Burlington (1694-1753), whose own projects – especially Chiswick House – helped set a trend.


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Netsuke Figurine

This Netsuke figurine is part of the collection of the Holburne Museum in Bath. Item number F42.43. And was given by Reverend H.H. Winwood in 1920. The figurine was made with ivory and was carved in Japan in the 19th century.
The figurine displays The Legend of the Badger Tea Kettle, which is a common theme in Japanese folktales. There are different version of this particular tale:

(1) The Teapot Badger

(2) Bunbuku Chagama, where a raccoon dog – or tanuki – uses its shapeshifting powers to reward its rescuer for his kindness

(3) “The Miraculous Teakettle”, p. 60 of the “Asian-Pacific Folktales and Legends”, which you can preview here:

(4) The Tea-Kettle

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Death Mask

Death Mask of Sir Isaac Pitman from the Library Collection of the University of Bath.

Sir Isaac Pitman (4 January 1813 – 22 January 1897), was an English teacher who developed the most widely used system of shorthand, known now as Pitman shorthand. He first proposed this in Stenographic Soundhand in 1837. He was also the vice president of the Vegetarian Society. Pitman was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1894.
The first distance education course in the modern sense was provided by Sir Isaac Pitman in the 1840s, who taught a system of shorthand by mailing texts transcribed into shorthand on postcards and receiving transcriptions from his students in return for correction. The element of student feedback was a crucial innovation of Pitman’s system. This scheme was made possible by the introduction of uniform postage rates across England in 1840.

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