New window display “Acclimatise the Phantom”

New window display “Acclimatise the Phantom”

Above: Elizabethan magician John Dee with a crocodile above his desk.

For several years, the Museum has had a beautiful stag in its main window display.  This was made by Marti Bogie, a talented artist and Friend of the Museum.  We changed it every time the Wheel of the Year turned and created some lovely seasonal displays.  As much as we loved it, it began to feel like time for a change and when we met a local artist who had created some wonderful pieces which he was looking to display, we felt the time had come to have a change so we now have a new window display for this year only.  Come and have a look next time you are in Boscastle!

Above: Museum founder, Cecil Williamson, in the Witch’s Cottage (an old display at the Museum) with a hanging crocodile.

The window display is made up of three separate sections.

  1.  Artworks made by Ian Elliott.  A Cornish artist inspired by Vodun art/magic/processes, in a communication with the Museum about these works of art, Ian said: “In Vodun the primary structure is usually carved quite crudely from wood. This form becomes enhanced from the activating material that is placed inside, tied to or pegged into the body, this empowered body is capable of various magical outcomes both constructive and malevolent.
    The forms used in the activation of the cadaver, exchange simplistic interpretations for a greater poetic comprehension of the materials themselves and their elective affinities.
    Effectively they become fetish objects. As such they communicate quite effectively entirely by themselves.”
  2. Two Bocio figures: these start as a basic sculpture and people then pin and add different significant objects (including blood and clay) onto them over time so they have layers of meaning and are said to ward off evil and protect the community. 
  3. Museum objects. These objects are similar in theme to the artworks next to which they have been placed.  Ian’s art taps into similar ideas to those in the Museum’s collection.

Piece 1: Back of the Mona Lisa’s Head (photographed below)

Piece 2: the Skating Minister (photographed below)

Piece 3: Bottlerack (left hand side in the photo below of the whole window display)

Some of the objects and themes explored in the window:

Aspect of Ian’s art Object on display
Mirrors Witch ball

Human teeth charms with text by Edward Lovett:


Shoes Fisherman’s footprint captured in sand and fenced in to make magic with
Feathers Goose wings used for sweeping magic (sweeping out things you want to be rid of with one wing, sweeping in things you want to attract with the other wing) 
Shells Snail shell love charms
The Feminine Divine Reproduction statue of the Black Madonna
Lizard with feather on back (creature of earth, water and air) Crocodile suspended in air
Wax ex voto image of a boy Miniature representations of children from the Richel Collection of magical objects

Picture of Baphomet from the Richel Collection

Carved phallus

Hermaphrodite vessels/vessels with aspects of the male and female used for working with spirits of nature made from terracotta


Glass spirit house 


It is a little difficult to take good photos of the window display (due to reflections/lack of photography skills by the current writer!) but here are some photos to give you an idea of what it looks like.  A guidebook is also available from the Museum’s online shop:



Amazingly, after I had finished the window display, I stumbled upon this photo of the same window from many years ago.  How apt that some of the same/similar objects are floating in nearly the same places twenty years later!  The carved phallus, the witch ball…this has a nice, cyclical feeling about it.  




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