Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Making Mounts at The Higgins

We have started to fill The Higgins’s beautiful new display cases with our much missed objects, but it is not always as easy as placing an object on a shelf.

I like nothing more than visiting museums and going around exhibitions and before we started on this redevelopment I was blissfully unaware of the work that had gone into the display. Now, I notice the text size and layout of the labels, what the label holders are like, the lighting system, the cases, the wall colour, the barrier systems and more besides. After this week I will start noticing the mounts that hold the objects too.

I’d never really given mounts much thought, or even really noticed them, which turns out to be a good thing. If you are distracted by how the object is held in place then the mount makers are doing it wrong. Lucky for us then that our mount makers are great. They have made mounts for displays at the Museum of London, the British Library, the British Museum and many more.

I’ve been trying to take some snaps of them at work to try and give you an idea of what’s involved.

The larger cases have involved lots of planning as there are so many objects in them. Here are the paper cut outs of the cups and saucers that we used them to arrange a layout. Colin (the mount maker) suggested all the ways that we could display them to their best advantage.
Here is Colin with the finished layout, marking numbers on each of the cups and saucers so that he can match them with the mounts he is going to make for them.

At this point all of the objects have been measured and an individual mount made for each one. With the teacups and saucers there are two types of mount, a brass armature for the saucers and a perspex shelf for the cups and teapots. This is one of the shelves.

 Little acrylic pegs are attached to the shelves to keep the objects in place.

A side view of the mounts with their objects in place.

 In another case this lovely little bodkin case had a mount made for it by Jon. We wanted it to sit up on the base of the case so it could be seen better. The mount has silicon tubing on it to protect the china.

The object in place.

Victoria Partridge
Keeper of Fine and Decorative Arts

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