It’s off to a new owner! The sale of this picture has brought back happy memories of visiting the Old Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh with Dad.
On the Royal Mile, deep in Edinburgh’s Old Town this gloriously higgledy-piggledy museum was one of a kind. I remember the small rooms piled high with toys on shelves, in display cases or hung from the ceiling. You might have had to work hard to discern connections amid the clutter, but there was delight in finding quirky arrangements of objects and idiosyncratic displays.
John loved the curious juxtapositions of items in its crowded cabinets, and the quiet dignity of well-loved toys, shining with character in their worn appearance.
Eventually the museum was modernised and refurbished with actual labels on items, cases cleaned and re-ordered, interactive displays installed. More to today’s taste but John was not impressed! It is currently being refurbished again (see website).
We still have several of Johns pictures from the ‘old’ museum to hold dear in memory, both the ‘joy of clutter’ and the ‘opening of eyes’ that was John’s aim as an artist.
“The artist’s job is to open eyes – to see what is hidden, to make connections, to put into shapes, colours, textures and forms, thoughts that re-assemble facts and feelings, and catch echoes of what might be to come – above all to make something memorable (and true).” John Busby, keynote speech in Rome, 2001