Gorilla Welfare at the Booth

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The Booth Museum has welcomed a visiting scientist to its collections once again, this time matching Professor John E. Cooper to the Keeper of Natural Sciences John A. Cooper! Professor Cooper wanted to see our collection of Gorilla material which consists of about 20 specimens including skulls and other parts of their skeletons. He brought his grandson Moses to see behind the scenes too and he proved to be a very able assistant.

Professor John E. Cooper and grandson Moses.

Professor John E. Cooper and grandson Moses.

Professor Cooper is a wildlife veterinarian with specialist training in comparative pathology and tropical medicine. He and his wife have lived in Africa, Arabia, Europe and the Caribbean. In particular he worked and lived in East Africa including Kenya and Rwanda where his expertise was used in the study of gorillas. He especially worked towards a better understanding of the factors that affect the health and welfare of these marvellous creatures. Now living in the UK Professor Cooper and others formed a Gorilla Pathology Study Group and amongst their work is the inspection of collections such as those in the Booth, looking for signs of disease for forensic studies. The Group will eventually publish their work, aimed at prima­tologists, veterinarians, biologists, osteologists and conservationists.

Professor Cooper’s visit will be the first of many that he will make as his studies of the Booth’s material grow in depth.

John Cooper, Keeper of Natural Sciences

Lt. Col. George Henry Bull IMS — a volunteer out of retirement at the Pavilion Hospital

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We have recently been contacted by Georgina Hutber, a descendant of an officer stationed at the First World War Pavilion hospital. Georgina has kindly written us a short biography of her great great uncle, and it provides an insight into the administration of the hospital. Like many of the medical officers at the Pavilion hospital, George Henry Bull had retired from the Indian Medical Service, but entered a new and unexpected phase of his career at the outbreak of war. 

George Henry Bull in group portrait of British officers. Bull is front row, third from right, with prominent white collar.

George Henry Bull in group portrait of British officers. Bull is front row, third from right, with prominent white collar. (Image courtesy of Georgina Hutber)

George Henry Bull was born in Cork, Ireland, the fourth child and third son of Joshua Edward Bull MD, who owned and ran a private lunatic asylum called Citadella, just outside Cork City. George Henry and his two older brothers, Joshua Edward and Ralph Anthony, all qualified in medicine. Joshua ran the lunatic asylum, helped by Ralph, and George Henry joined the Indian Medical Service, based at Poona. He seems to have been loved and respected as much for his prowess in hunting and showing horses as for his medical expertise! George Henry returned several times to Britain looking for new horses, and on one such occasion, he and his brothers were all out hunting when the Inspector of Asylums called. The lack of qualified medical staff on the premises resulted in a loss of their licence and the asylum closed (or so the family story goes!). George Henry retired in 1908 and returned to Britain about 1910.

George Henry Bull in group portrait of senior officers of Royal Pavilion Indian Military Hospital, c1915. Bull is seated in front row, second from right.

George Henry Bull in group portrait of senior officers of the Royal Pavilion Indian Military Hospital, c1915. Bull is seated in front row, second from right. (Image courtesy of Georgina Hutber.)

At the outbreak of WW1, George Henry again joined up, and served at the Indian Hospital in Brighton, where he was in charge of a section. He may have stayed on after it became a hospital for limbless men, because the next known event in his life was his marriage (at the ripe old age of 67), to a widow, Annie Fairrie, who was 20 years his junior. She was Quartermaster at the Princess Christian’s Hospital in Englefield, for which she received an MBE. They then divided their time between a London club and Monte Carlo. George Henry Bull died in July 1930, his wife Annie in September 1949. Georgina Hutber

Iranian Identity in Art, World Stories: Young Voices Gallery

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My name is Neda. I am from Iran and moved to the UK in 2010. I am a freelance researcher and was involved, along with eight other young Iranians, with the Iranian Identity in Art display, as part of the World Stories Young Voices gallery at Brighton Museum. We worked with curators at the museum to select contemporary artwork and objects for display and to create gallery interpretation. The theme of the display is how the art of writing or calligraphy has and continues to be an important part of Iranian art production. I was excited to be working on this gallery as it will raise the profile of Iranian contemporary art in the UK, and challenge preconceptions about the Middle East.

During the World Stories Young Voices project we studied the historic Iranian objects in the collection and discussed the contemporary artworks. We related to the objects in a personal way rather than focusing on their historical or technical aspects.

The calligraphy box particularly stood out for me due to its beautiful poetry and miniature painting. I translated the poem and recorded a reciting in both Persian and English. The poem can be listened to with a mobile device via the QR code available at the museum.

What I really like about the gallery is the mixture of historic and contemporary objects on display. Middle Eastern audiences appreciate contemporary art by drawing from the cultural context and background that has influenced that art. Displaying traditional art alongside the contemporary art can help to contextualise it for a non Middle Eastern audience.

Iran: An artistic renewal

Around 65% of the population of Iran are under 30 years old. There are plenty of young talented Iranian artists who are well-known to a small artistic circle within Iran, and unknown to the rest of the world. As an Iranian I feel it is important to support these artists through museum displays and through collecting contemporary art.

Due to restriction and censorship of art in Iran, artists must be imaginative and nuanced in the messages that they convey. They have also inherited a rich artistic history which has been influenced by pre Islamic period (Persian art and culture) as well as Islamic art.

Young Iranians discuss digital print Dream Indicator Series by Nader Davoodi (copyright Arshia Hatami )

Young Iranians discuss digital print Dream Indicator Series by Nader Davoodi (copyright Arshia Hatami )

As Iranians, we decided to display an artwork which could not be displayed in Iran as it shows a young woman without a headscarf which is forbidden in Iran. Nader Davoodi’s work titled Dream Indicator is a strong representation  of a young woman. She emerges through an upside down script of an old Persian love story which suggests the interplay between contemporary life and traditional practices.

Dream Indicator Series by Nader Davoodi Nader Davoodi,Dream Indicator Series, 100x70cm, Digital print on Photographic Paper . Digital print on photographic paper, 2011

Dream Indicator Series by Nader Davoodi. Digital print on photographic paper, 2011

During the project I ran workshops to teach Iranian calligraphy at a families event at Brighton Museum. In the workshop I helped children create their own designs. They were inspired by the traditional and contemporary Iranian calligraphy. Finally, we made the designs into badges.

Neda Kahooker, Researcher, Iranian collections

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