This last week has been pretty amazing… I could almost write a blog about every day, there has been so much going on… but I’m going to focus on Thursday, a day which took me to Oxford…

I met a lady, a couple of months ago, who lives in Oxford, we met at Mentmore Arts Festival back at the end of May, she and her husband were visiting, enjoying the art, and we got chatting…

Well… I like a chat, and so did they… it’s good to take time to hear peoples stories and interests, and over the course of our blathering, we came across a few common interests… Some might call it serendipity…

So, a long story short, I met up with Lynn, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, on Thursday. Aside from all the other artworks and artifacts on display there, there is an Ancient Egyptian exhibition, which includes *drum roll please* Encaustic Wax Fayum Mummy Panels… I have been researching about these little beauties on t’interweb for quite some time, but this was the first time I have seen them in the flesh, so to speak… It was quite a special moment. We tried to locate a curator to speak to who was really knowledgeable about them, which was a tall ask on an off chance, but have come away with some names and e-mail addresses, which I will follow up in due course. **Watch this space!**

We scoured the bookshop to find any encaustic information, and as I often find, there was very little there, until a ‘Eureka!’ moment when we found one small book with a few photographs in and a short paragraph about them! Why is it I like the unusual….?!!

Anyhow, I gleened enough information from the audio guide to consider how I will try reproducing a panel in the studio, but am itching to speak to somebody to find out about the pigments and methods they would have used around 2000 years ago. As I said, watch this space!

So, with my head swimming with ideas, we stopped for lunch in the lovely rooftop restaurant, overlooking the Randolph Hotel. Man, that was delicious; asparagus tips, bed of salad, truffle oil, parmesan, duck eggs… crikey, I can taste it now… Anyhow, I digress….

So, Lynn, now on a mission to show me as much of Oxfords best bits as she possibly could in the time we had, took me on a whistle stop tour of The New Bodleian Library, where we looked at the ‘Marks of Genius’ exhibition in the Weston Library – my favourite piece there was a Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice manuscript, of which the reviewer had remarked, that never had such utter Trash been read… (or words to that effect!) That gives me such hope!   On to St Mary the Virgin University church, with a wealth of gruesome history, and the Knights Templar symbol visible on the wall. The stained glass there was just stunning, you are able to get up close and really observe the craftsmanship. A walk around Oriel Square to Merton, through the gates to Christ Church meadow, the area where Lewis Carol wrote Alice in Wonderland, which was published 150 years ago, against the historical backdrop of Tom Tower.   Phew… Time for a welcome pint in The Turf Tavern, a lovely hidden gem, which I would never have found without locals knowledge, the pub where Bill Clinton allegedly, ‘did not inhale’…! Man, my head was on OVERLOAD… I had taken so much in, I couldn’t quite compute it all. Lynn and I parted company, and I walked shell shocked for a few moments, reeling in the days events. A nice finishing touch, is as I waited for the Park and Ride bus in St Aldgate, I was stood directly opposite Oxford Town Hall where I exhibited earlier this year at Oxford International Art Fair, I was looking up at the artists room I had been assigned to back in February, and smiled to myself at the irony of it all.

Anyhow, there you go, my day in Oxford… apart from one small final piece… as my son was being collected this morning by a friend, and the car was being loaded, I said, oohh… something has fallen out… holding a wedge of paper up, they looked and said, no, not ours…. okay… and took it inside to put in the bin, however, on checking it was nothing important, discovered a ripped up piece of paper that printed in capital letters said… SHEPLEY… OXFORD… It has got me curious enough to look a little deeper…! *Watch this space!*

With huge thanks to Lynn who made this day so interesting for me. A lovely lady, with an amazing background, I really enjoyed hearing snippets of your life. I have come away utterly inspired and will be back again soon!

#exciting #serendipity #listen #learn #encouragement

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