Welcome to the blog of Melanie McDonald ! I'm a professional artist, my life is divided between my home in Newquay, Cornwall and my renovation project - an 18th Century farm - in North Brittany, France. My inspiration comes from the beautiful beaches, skies and seas of Cornwall, Brittany and Scotland. This is where I share my paintings and photographs, I hope it inspires you.

September 25, 2010

26 Treasures inspire me at the V&A.

The Unveiling
At 12 of the clock you slipped into the world,
slithering, fish-like.
No cry.
A silent child veiled in filmy gauze - your caul.

'A lucky omen' the midwife said.
'A bringer of great happiness and a talisman to keep you safe;
no sea captain shall buy your caul to protect him from a siren's song.'
A son, long hoped for, now unveiled.

Poem by Helen Jones

From the exhibition 26 Treasures at the V&A Museum - Locket containing a caul. Treasure number 17 - the smallest of the 26 treasures and my personal favourite.

Image scanned from my 26 Treasures brochure. (All photos: copyright V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London.)

Caul is a thin filmy membrane that sometimes covers a newborn babie's head and face immediately after birth. Being born with a caul is very rare - less than 1 in 80,000 births. In medieval times it was considered a sign of good luck and highly prized by sailors (caul - wikipedia). Well, who knew? In 62 words this tiny object has been brought to life in the most extraordinary way. Thank you Helen Jones.

With thanks also to Rob Self-Pierson and the team of 26 Treasures and the V&A Museum.


'Come on - I want to go to the V&A again.' I said.
'Oh no, I can't stand museums. They're so antique and dismal, so depressing.'
'No, you've got it all wrong, it's not like that anymore.'
'Yeah but, it's crushing - the weight of all those objects and their previous lives.'
'But that's the point! You amaze me!', I said, giving my husband a kiss, and added, 'I met this guy called Rob, on Twitter, he made a connection between objects and words .... to help make you see the objects in a different way.'
'Oh, please hurry up hun, I'll show you 26 Treasures and explain all ....'

Other posts you might like:

Golden Sands near Rock, Cornwall.
Mountains, sea, sky, crofts, dormer bungalows, telegraph poles and pine trees.

Painting: Little Beach St. Ives, Cornwall.
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