Amgueddfa Blog: Casgliadau ac Ymchwil

Have you ever asked yourself the question “What’s behind the gallery doors of National Museum Cardiff”? Well, if you have then this blog might be for you. The specimens and objects you see in the galleries are just a fraction of those we have in the museum’s collections. So why do we have so many? Specimens in the galleries do suffer when exposed to light while on display, and occasionally from being touched by little sticky fingers! To help protect them, we regularly swap fragile objects on display with those in our stores. We also change objects round for the different exhibitions we produce. Objects behind the scenes are also used for a whole variety of different activities such as education and research. 

While we may not be able to put all of our specimens on display, we do like to share as many of them as we can via our social media channels. In the Natural Sciences Department, we do that via the @CardiffCurator Twitter account. Each week, we might share our worm highlights on #WormWednesday, some of our fantastic fossils on #FossilFriday and various other amazing specimens on other days of the week via various alliterations! 

Of course, the festive season is no different and each year we promote Christmassy objects via a #MuseumAdvent calendar. For 2020, our calendar has been inspired by the ‘Nature on your doorstep’ program which the museum has run throughout lockdown aimed at reconnecting people with nature. One of the main activities has been photo bingo, where we challenged people to find and photograph a number of objects. For winter bingo, we released a card at the end of November with 24 wintery things, such a robin, holly, frost and a sunset. Behind every door of our museum advent calendar, we included helpful tips and photographs from our collections, alongside live photos to help people find everything on the bingo sheet.

We are nearly half way through the calendar, but if you would like to join in why not follow the #MuseumAdvent hashtag over on @CardiffCurator and see if you can call “House” before the 24th December.

Gan ei bod yn bryd hongian hosanau Nadolig unwaith eto, dyma ni’n fforio’n harchifau a gofyn i Mark Lucas, Curadur y Diwydiant Gwlân yn yr Amgueddfa Wlân Cymru am hanes yr hosan yma yng Nghymru. Fel mae'n digwydd, mae yna lawer i'w ddweud, ac os cewch eich ysbrydoli i roi cynnig ar wau eich hosan Nadolig eich hun, mae gennym ni batrwm hawdd iawn i'ch helpu chi i wneud hynny.

Hanes gweu hosanau yng Nghymru

Mae traddodiad hir o weu hosanau yng Nghymru, ac yn yr 18fed a’r 19eg ganrif, cyfrannodd gweu hosanau at economi ddomestig cefn gwlad Cymru. Byddai hosanau yn cael eu gweu ar yr aelwyd yn y gaeaf, a’r teulu cyfan yn helpu. Roedd y Noson Weu yn draddodiad yn y Gymru wledig, lle byddai cymdogion yn dod ynghyd i weu yn gymdeithasol, a gwrando ar hen straeon, caneuon hynafol neu gerddoriaeth ar y delyn.

Bala a Thregaron oedd y canolfannau gweu hosanau, a chynhaliwyd marchnadoedd mawr deirgwaith y mis yn y trefi hyn. Ym 1851, roedd 176 o hosanwyr yn Nhregaron a’r cylch.

Mae gwlana yn hen draddodiad Cymreig arall. Byddai grwpiau o fenywod yn dilyn porthmyn neu gerdded y ‘llwybrau gwlana’. Bydden nhw’n casglu’r darnau bach o gnu o’r caeau a’r llwyni, yn plygu, estyn a thynnu bob un darn o gnu gwerthfawr. Byddai’r menywod yn ymweld â ffermydd ar

Diorama Gwlana

hyd y ffordd gan gyfnewid llety, bwyd a newyddion lleol am waith o gwmpas y fferm. Weithiau, os oedden nhw’n lwcus, byddai’r ffermwr wedi cadw cnu i’r menywod. Roedd yr hawl i gasglu’r cnu’n werthfawr, a byddai menywod ifanc a oedd yn gweithio fel morwynion yn sicrhau eu bod yn cael bythefnos i ffwrdd ar gyfer casglu cnu bob blwyddyn. Byddai’r menywod yn dychwelyd adref gyda’i sachau trwm llawn gwlân. Bydden nhw’n ei olchi a nyddu’r edafedd er mwyn ei ddefnyddio i weu hosanau a dillad eraill.

Bachyn edafedd

Oherwydd diffyg trafnidiaeth yn y Gymru wledig, os byddai rhaid i bobl deithio bydden nhw’n cerdded, ac wrth gerdded byddai menywod yn gweu gyda bachyn edau. Mae bachyn edau ar siâp S, gydag un pen wedi’i gysylltu â gwasg eich dillad a phellen ar y pen arall, er mwyn i chi gael eich dwy law yn rhydd i weu wrth gerdded. Yn Sir Aberteifi yn yr 19eg ganrif, byddai menywod yn cario mawn o’r mynyddoedd i’w ddefnyddio fel tanwydd. Bydden nhw’n cario hyd at 27kg o fawn mewn basgedi ar eu cefnau, i gadw eu dwylo’n rhydd i weu wrth gerdded. Byddai menywod hefyd yn gweu ar eu ffordd i’r capel, ond yn stopio cyn camu i dir cysegredig.

Gwisgwyd gweiniau gweill ar ochr dde’r corff ar ongl i ddal gwaelod y waell, gan adael y llaw chwith yn rhydd i weithio’r edau ar y waell arall. Byddai’r wain yn dal pwysau’r gwlân ac atal y bachau rhag cwympo oddi ar y gweill.

Gweiniau nodwyddau gweu

Traddodiad Cymreig yw rhoi gweiniau gweill fel arwydd o gariad. Cai’r rhain eu cerfio’n gywrain gan ddynion ar gyfer eu cariadon. Fel arfer maent wedi’u cerfio o bren, ond mae enghreifftiau i’w gweld o ifori a metel.

Manylion peiriant gweu hosanau 

Yn Oes Fictoria, daeth peiriannau hosanau yn boblogaidd. Gallai’r peiriannau hyn weu hosanau’n gyflymach o lawer nac y byddai merched yn gweu â llaw.

Cynhyrchodd diwydiant hosanau gogledd Cymru 300,000 pâr o sanau i luoedd y Cynghreiriad yn ystod y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf.

Ym 1966 gallai Melin Dreifa yng Nghwm Morgan, dan berchnogaeth David Oliver, gynhyrchu 7 pâr o hosanau’r awr, a byddai’r peiriannau gweu trydanol yn aml yn cynhyrchu 250 pâr yr wythnos.

Esiampl o sanau Corgi

Mae’r traddodiad yn fyw hyd heddiw yn ffatri Corgi yn Rhydaman, sy’n cyfuno sgiliau traddodiadol a pheiriannau modern i gynhyrchu sanau gwlân. Maent yn adnabyddus ar draws y byd am greu sanau a hosanau moethus ac ymhlith eu cwsmeriaid y mae’r Teulu Brenhinol.

Hosanau ar ddangos yn Amgueddfa Wlân Cymru.

Beth am wau hosan Nadolig eich hun?

Mae gennym ni hosanau gwau cain iawn yng nghasgliad Amgueddfa Wlân Cymru, ond os hoffech chi roi cynnig ar rywbeth symlach, mae gennym ni batrwm gwau syml iawn ar gyfer hosan Nadolig y dylech chi allu ei baratoi mewn pryd ar gyfer ymweliad Siôn Corn. Er na allwn warantu y bydd yn cael ei lenwi, mae ein siopau yn Amgueddfa Sain Fagan ac yn yr Amgueddfa Llechi Genedlaethol yn Llanberis (gwelwch eu gwefannau am fanylion agor cyn cychwyn) yn cynnig gostyngiad o 10% ar eitemau i lenwi'r hosan, i unrhyw un sy'n dod â hosan Nadolig wedi'i gwau â llaw gan ddefnyddio'r patrwm hwn. Felly, ewch ati i wau!

GELLID LAWRLWYTHO'R PATRWM SYML I WEU HOSAN NADOLIG YMA

 

How a Distanced Professional Training Year Can Still Be Enjoyable and Successful

As an undergraduate, studying biosciences at Cardiff University, I am able to undertake a placement training year. Taxonomy, the study of naming, defining, and classifying living things, has always interested me and the opportunity to see behind the scenes of the museum was a chance I did not want to lose. So, when the time came to start applying for placements, the Natural Sciences Department at National Museum Cardiff was my first choice. When I had my first tour around the museum, I knew I had made the right choice to apply to carry out my placement there. It really was the ‘kid in the candy shop’ type of feeling, except the sweets were preserved scientific specimens. If given the time I could spend days looking over every item in the collection and marvelling at them all. 

Of course, the plans that were set out for my year studying with the museum were made last year and, with the Covid-19 pandemic this has meant that plans had to change! However, everyone has adapted really well and thankfully, a large amount of the work I am doing can be done from home or in zoom meetings when things need to be discussed.

Currently, my work focuses on writing a scientific paper that will be centered on describing and naming a new species of shovel head worm (Magelonidae) from North America. Shovel head worms are a type of marine bristle worm and as the name describes, are found in the sea. They are related to earth worms and leeches. So far, my work has involved researching background information and writing the introduction for the paper. This  is very helpful for my own knowledge because when I applied for the placement I didn’t have the slightest clue about what a shovel head worm was but now I can confidently understand what people mean when they talk about chaetigers or lateral pouches!

Part of the research needed for the paper also includes looking closely at species found in the same area as the new species, or at species that are closely related in order to determine that our species is actually new.

Photos for the paper were taken by attaching a camera to a microscope and using special imaging stacking software which takes several shots at different focus distances and combines them into a fully focused image. While ideally, I would have taken these images myself, I am unable to due to covid restrictions, so my training year supervisor, Katie Mortimer-Jones took them.

Then I cleaned up the backgrounds and made them into the plates ready for publication. I am very fortunate that I already have experience in using applications similar to photoshop for art and a graphics tablet so it wasn’t too difficult for me to adjust what I already had in order to make these plates. Hopefully soon, I will be able to take these images for myself.

My very first publication in a scientific journal doesn’t seem that far away and I still have much more time in my placement which makes me very excited to see what the future holds. Of course, none of this would be possible without the wonderful, friendly and helpful museum staff who I have to express my sincere thanks to for allowing me to have this fantastic opportunity to work here, especially my supervisor, Katie Mortimer-Jones.

Traddodiadau Calan Gaeaf

Mae noson Calan Gaeaf ar y gorwel ac mae’n siwr fod plant ledled Cymru yn ysu am gael hyd i’r wisg ddychrynllyd berffaith ar gyfer y noswaith, a phwmpenni ar draws y wlad yn cael eu gwacáu a’u cerfio. Daw rhai o’r traddodiadau hyn oddi wrth ein ffrindiau dros ddyfroedd yr Atlantig, ond yn y blog hwn hoffwn gynnig blas o’r ffyrdd eraill y dathlwyd y dyddiad hwn yng Nghymru. 

Diwedd y Cynhaeaf

Gyda chasglu’r cynhaeaf a dyfodiad Calan Gaeaf roedd y gwaith amaethyddol trwm yn dod i ben am y flwyddyn. Roedd diogelu’r cynnyrch yn barod at y gaeaf yn dynodi diwedd yr haf a dechrau’r gaeaf, sef diwedd  yr hen flwyddyn Geltaidd ar Noson Calan Gaeaf. I ddathlu’r achlysur pwysig hwn byddai llawer yn paratoi gwledd foethus yn llawn danteithion a cherddoriaeth er mwyn diolch i gymdogion am eu cymorth yn hel yn cnydau. Roedd hi hefyd yn arfer i ladd anifeiliaid fferm yn y cyfnod hwn er mwyn cadw’r cig at y gaeaf. 

Bwganod ar Bob Camfa

Ond, yn ôl pob sôn, gallai pethau rhyfedd iawn ddigwydd ar noswaith Calan Gaeaf. Roedd rhwydd hynt i ysbrydion grwydro’r wlad a chredid y byddai eneidiau’r meirwon i’w gweld ar bob camfa am hanner nos. Byddai i’r ysbrydion hyn nodweddion gwahanol o ardal i ardal ond dau o’r bwganod mwyaf cyffredin oedd y Ladi Wen, ac yn arbennig yn y gogledd, yr Hwch Ddu Gwta. Arferid cynnau coelcerthau wedi iddi dywyllu, ond wrth i’r fflamau farw ac wrth i’r tywyllwch ennill y nos, ofnid gweld yr Hwch Ddu Gwta. Rhaid oedd brysio adref heb oedi, ac wrth wneud hynny, byddai rhai yn adrodd: 

Adref, adref am y cynta’, Hwch Ddu Gwta a gipio’r ola’

neu

Hwch Ddu Gwta a Ladi Wen heb ddim pen

Hwch Ddu Gwta a gipio’r ola’

Hwch Ddu Gwta nos G’langaea

Lladron yn dwad tan weu sana.

ac hefyd

Hwch Ddu Gwta, yn brathu coesau’r hogia’ lleia’.

Stwnsh, Tair Powlen a 'Thwco ’Fale'

Roedd llawr o ofergolion yn gysylltiedig â’r adeg hon o’r flwyddyn, yn enwedig y rhai hynny a fyddai’n eich galluogi i ddarogan y dyfodol. Dau gwestiwn pwysig ar lawer tafod oedd pwy fyddai’n priodi a phwy fyddai’n cwrdd ag anffawd marwol. Er mae’r un oedd y cwestiynau, byddai y modd y’u hatebid yn amrywio o sir i sir. Yn Sir Drefaldwyn, byddid yn paratoi stwnsh o naw cynhwysyn (yn eu plith ceid tatws, moron, erfin, cennin, pupur a halen), wedi eu cymysgu gydag ychydig o laeth ac yn y canol, rhoddid modrwy briodas. Byddai pawb yn cymryd ei dro i brofi’r stwnsh hwn a’r sawl a fyddai’n dod o hyd i’r fodrwy yn siwr o briodi ymhen dim.  

Traddodiad arall oedd plicio croen afal mewn un darn, a thaflu’r croen dros eich ysgwydd. Byddai siap y croen ar y llawr yn dynodi llythyren gyntaf eich darpar briod. 

Yn ardal Llandysul byddid yn llenwi tair powlen: un â phridd, un â dŵr â gwaddod ac un â dŵr clir. Wedi rhoi mwgwd am y llygaid, rhaid oedd estyn a chyffwrdd un o’r powlenni. Roedd gwahanol ystyr i’r dair. Byddai’r cyntaf yn darogan marw cyn priodi; yr ail yn darogan priodas gythryblus a’r drydedd yn dynodi priodas hapus. Arferid hefyd chwarae gemau megis 'twco ’fale', neu fersiwn braidd yn fwy peryglus, ceisio dal afal yn hongian o’r to ynghlwm wrth gannwyll, yn eich ceg!

Eitemau Brawychus ein Casgliadau

Mae sawl eitem dychrynllyd yn ein casgliadau. Yn eu plith bydd dol o Wlad Belg a gasglwyd gan Edward Lovett (1852-1933). Roedd gan Lovett ddiddordeb mawr mewn swynion, boed yn rhai lwcus neu’n rhai anlwcus. Gwnaethpwyd y ddol hon o gwyr a gellid ei defnyddio i niwedio eraill trwy osod piniau neu unrhywbeth miniog ynddi, ac os am achosi marwolaeth araf boenus i elyn, gellid ei thoddi yn araf mewn simne. Gwrthrych dychrynllyd arall yw potel gwrach gyda swyn wedi ei gosod ynddi. Mae’n debyg nad agorwyd y botel hon erioed. Gosodwyd poteli tebyg mewn waliau adeiladau i amddiffyn rhag ysbrydion drwg.

Straeon i Godi Gwallt Pen

Recordiwyd miloedd o siaradwyr gan Archif Sain Amgueddfa Werin Cymru dros y blynyddoedd. Ymysg ein recordiadau ceir toreth o straeon am brofiadau arswydus, am fwganod ac ofergoelion. Mae rhai o’r straeon yn perthyn i’r siaradwr ei hyn tra bod eraill yn rhai a drosglwyddwyd ar lafar o’r gorffennol o un cenhedlaeth i’r llall.

Dyma ambell i glip sain o’r Archif:

Ysbryd Pwll Glo McClaren 

https://www.casgliadywerin.cymru/items/606763

Hwch - Ddu Gwta

https://www.casgliadywerin.cymru/items/606778

Crinjar

https://www.casgliadywerin.cymru/items/606781

Ydych chi’n edrych am weithgareddau Calan Gaeaf i wneud adref? Lawrlwythwch y taflenni isod ac addurnwch bwmpen, neu ysgrifennwch swyn eich hun!

 

Addurno Pwmpen

 

Dyfeisiwch Swyn

 

Just prior to lockdown we were able to run the first LGBTQ+ tours at the National Museum Cardiff which were created in partnership with Pride Cymru. As the doors unlock and visitors can start to return to the museum and also to mark and celebrate Pride Cymru 2020, I would like to share with you my favourite set of objects from the tours.

Teithiau LGBTQ+
© Dan Vo @DanNouveau

An Encounter with May and Mary

Clasbau llawes a wnaed gan May Morris (1862-1938)

When I first saw the exquisite silver sleeve clasps with a centrally suspended chrysoprase teardrop gemstone flanked by two apple-green orbs, I was utterly charmed. What rooted me to the spot and caused goosebumps to tickle my skin though was the name of the owner and the donor: Miss May Morris, given by Miss M. F. V. Lobb.

Echoing in my mind was a talk, The Great Wings of Silence, that I’d seen Dr Sean Curran deliver at an LGBT+ History Month event at the V&A museum on their relationship. Curran also wrote about May Morris (1862-1938) and Mary Frances Vivian Lobb (1879-1939) saying, “people like Mary Lobb and May Morris are part of a still barely visible queer heritage that can contribute to legitimising contemporary queer identities”.

I felt what I was seeing was evidence of their relationship. Though, as it turns out, there are two great collections that hold jewellery made by May and gifted by Mary, National Museum Cardiff and my ‘home collection’ of the V&A. Somewhat ironic! 

 

The Welsh Connection

The link between May and the V&A, I think, is easy to deduce: William Morris had significant influence in the early years of the V&A and after he died May, a respected artist in her own right, carried on his work teaching about good design principles and maintained a strong relationship with the museum. 

While the Morris family were proud of their Welsh ancestry, the question of how May’s jewellery ended up specifically at National Museum Cardiff involves a curious path that takes in sites from all across Wales, and certainly affirms the significant relationship between May and Mary.

May was a skilled jewellery maker and embroiderer and took charge of the embroidery department of her father’s renowned company Morris & Co. when she was 23. By the time Mary came into her life, May was living alone in the Morris family summer residence, Kelmscott Manor in the Cotswold.

Mary was from a Cornish farming family and during the First World War and as an early recruit to the Women’s Land Army she was involved in demonstrations showing how women could support the war efforts, even making the news with a headline “Cornish Woman Drives Steam Roller”!

At some point after the war, Mary joined May at Kelmscott Manor and the couple became a familiar sight, even attending local events together. Then, perhaps as it is for some now, not everyone was sure what to make of the relationship: Mary has been variously described as Morris’s close companion, housekeeper, cook, and even bodyguard!

When May died in 1938 she bequeathed her personal effects and £12,000 to Mary, an amount larger than any she left to anyone else. She also secured the tenure of Kelmscott for the rest of Mary’s life, however, Mary tragically died five months later in 1939. In those short months, Mary arranged the donation of May’s jewellery as well as her own scrapbooks to the National Library of Wales.

The scrapbooks were not given much consideration and were broken up and scattered across various sections of the library. It was researcher Simon Evans who began slowly reassembling the collection, and as he did so started to realise the significance and how it helps paint a clearer picture of the relationship between May and Mary.

Rediscovered items include watercolour landscapes painted by May, which suggests the pair traveled extensively together across Wales with journeys including Cardigan, Gwynedd, Swansea, Talyllyn and Cader Idris (one of my favourite images of the couple is a photograph from the William Morris Gallery that shows them camping in the Welsh countryside).

 

The Queer Perspective

Sandwiched in the scrapbooks is also a cryptic note in a letter from May to Mary, "after posting letter, I just grasped the thread at the end of yours, and having grasped (how slow of me!) I will be most careful.” 

To contextualise, Evans also describes a postcard (at Kelmscott Manor), written on a trip in Wales, in which Mary asked someone back at the Manor to send Morris’s shawl which is in "our" bedroom, which seems to put to bed the rumour May and Mary shared a room. Further, writer and curator Jan Marsh concludes in her book Jane and May Morris by saying the relationship between May and Mary was, in contemporary terms, a lesbian one.

Teithiau LGBTQ+
© Dan Vo @DanNouveau

Through the jewelry gifted to the National Museum Cardiff we have a small glimpse of two lives intertwined, an intimate relationship between May and Mary that was full of love, care, and concern for each other. Theirs is one story among many on the free volunteer-led LGBTQ+ tours, which will return in the future when it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, labels for 18 objects have now been written that help highlight works with an LGBTQ+ connection for visitors. Connected to the May and Mary is a stunning hair ornament, which resembles a tiara, formed by floral shapes studded with pearls, opals, and garnets with silver leaves, all meeting symmetrically in the middle of the head. 

There are landscapes and a self-portrait by Swansea born painter Cedric Morris and several portraits by the renowned Gwen John who hails from Haverfordwest, as well as a bust of her by lover Rodin. Other highlights include works by Francis Bacon, John Minton, Christopher Wood, and 'Brunette' - a ceramic bust of Hollywood star Greta Garbo by Susie Cooper.

It is also now possible to explore the museum’s queer collection online by searching for ‘LGBTQ’ in the Collections Online. This will allow you to see works like The Wounded Amazon by Conwy sculptor John Gibson, a painting of Fisher Boys by Methyr Tydfil born artist Penry Williams (Gibson and Williams lived together in Rome and are understood to be lovers), and a ceramic plate that features perhaps the most famous lesbian couple in history, the Ladies of Llangollen, who lived together at Plâs Newydd. 

It is a joy and a privilege to be able to share the rich history of Welsh queer culture in such a historic place. I'm pleased to say the tours and the related research are merely just getting started! There are so many more stories to be found and told, many that will take us down interesting intersectional paths too. So do stay tuned for more from the National Museum Cardiff and Pride Cymru volunteers. 

For now I wish you a happy Pride. However you’re celebrating it, I hope it’s with as much sparkle as May and Mary’s glamorous bling! 

Arweinwyr teithiau LGBTQ+


Dan Vo is a freelance museum consultant who founded the V&A LGBTQ+ Tours and developed the Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd National Museum Cardiff LGBTQ+ Tours. He is currently the project manager and lead researcher of the Queer Heritage and Collections Nework, a subject specialist network supported by the Art Fund formed of a partnership between the National Trust, English Heritage, Historic England, Historic Royal Palaces and the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (University of Leicester).