Conservation of Objects

Conservation of Objects

Over winter, some much needed conservation took place on our collection of preserved hearts, eyes, testicles etc. (all animal!) in jars.

Here are some before and after shots to show how effective the change has been…

 

Before (left), after (right)

This one was tricky as the lid was tightly sealed and needed drilling…

These are testicles and a heart of a sheep – Cecil Williamson writes:

“They are the testicles of an animal stuck with slithers of thorn wood. The reason for such an operation – to right a real or imagined wrong in a farming community.”  He also writes:-  “An animal’s eyes and the heart pierced with wild thorn splinters, crown of thorns – Christ – agony – suffering. Such is the link in the symbolism beloved and used by west country witches. It is not an animal that they harm, but a person who on the evidence presented deserves to be punished for the hurt they caused to others.”

 

 

Before (left), after (right)

Cecil Williamson on this piece of savaged liver:  

“To pierce with pins and thorns is one method, but West Country witches also make use of biting as a means of correction. As with the dog, teeth are a good god-created weapon of defence or attack.  One cannot go up to a person and give them hefty bite, so the witches do that by proxy, making use of an animal’s lungs, heart or liver. You can see the bite mark in this preserved example.”

Incidentally, the liver constantly releases impurities into the preservation liquid which is why this one is a little more cloudy than the others.

  

Before (left), after (right)

Charm making is a process going through the stages of the making, the ritual and depositing, and then followed by the stage during which it wilts and decays away. Here the process was stopped and the materials placed in preserving fluid.”

    

Before (left), after (right)

These jars were expertly conserved by Simon Moore (we would highly recommend him!)

Although these unique specimens are temporarily in store, this vital conservation means that visitors can look forward to seeing them for many years to come at Museum of Witchcraft & Magic.

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