The harbour, Polperro, Cornwall. Probably 1860s-1870s
The harbour from the slipway near The Three Pilchards. Amongst the moored boats are those with registration numbers '23FY', '49FY', '351(?)FY', '50FY' and '78FY'. A lady is hanging out the washing in the house on the right. A Photographic print from the manuscript The History of Polperro by Thomas Q. Couch (1878), which expanded on Jonathan Couch's work of the same name, published in 1871. Photographer: Lewis Harding.
© From the collection of the RIC
John Vivian of Pencalenick, John Opie (1761-1807)
Oil on canvas, English School, around 1780. A portrait of a young John Vivian of Pencalenick (1772-1817). Vivian later became a Barrister and was High Sheriff of Cornwall in 1812. John Opie was born in Harmony Cottage, Trevellas, between St Agnes and Perranporth in Cornwall. He was the youngest of the five children of Edward Opie, a master carpenter, and his wife Mary (nee Tonkin). He showed a precocious talent for drawing and mathematics, and by the age of twelve he had mastered the teachings of Greek mathematician Euclid and opened an evening school for poor children where he taught reading, writing and arithmetic. His father, however, did not encourage his abilities, and apprenticed him to his own trade of carpentry. Opie's artistic abilities eventually came to the attention of local physician and satirist, Dr John Wolcot (who used the pen name Peter Pindar), who visited him at the sawmill where he was working in 1775. Recognising a great talent, Wolcot became Opie's mentor, buying him out of his apprenticeship and insisting that he come to live at his home in Truro. Wolcot provided invaluable encouragement, advice, tuition and practical help in the advancement of his early career, including obtaining many commissions for work. In 1781, having gained considerable experience as a portraitist travelling around Cornwall, Opie moved to London with Wolcot. There they lived together, having entered into a formal profit-sharing agreement. Although Opie had received a considerable artistic education from Wolcot, the doctor chose to present him as a self-taught prodigy; a portrait of a boy shown at the Society of Artists the previous year, had been described in the catalogue as "an instance of Genius, not having ever seen a picture." Wolcot introduced the "Cornish wonder" to leading artists, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was to compare him to Caravaggio and Velazquez.
Hinamatsuri Egg Diorama, Japan
This playful diorama shows the court of an emperor and empress. Empty eggshells have been painted with happy faces and dressed in clothing from the Heian period (794-1185) in Japan. Dolls like these are used for the Hinamatsuri or Dolls Festival in Japan every March the 3rd. This celebrates the growth of female children in the hope that they will be beautiful and without illness. The top tier features O-dairi-sama (Emperor) and O-Hina-sama (Emperor's wife). The middle tier represents three ladies of the court that served Shirozake or Sake. The bottom tier shows musicians including a singer holding a fan. It is part of a collection of Japanese items given to the museum by the Community of the Epiphany, a female religious order in Truro. TRURI-2001-23-1
© RIC, photographer Mike Searle