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Wednesday 8th September was one of my ‘un-pre-planned’ days, but my wishlist was long. High up it was the geology section of the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.  My knees, unaccustomed to so much strenuous walking over the previous few days, and which had much disturbed my sleep the night before, pushed it even further up. The weather forecast for the day cemented its new position.

St Michael’s Mount was nowhere to be seen as I drove along Penzance’s Western Promenade in the morning. Rain and/or heavy mist accompanied me to Truro, (as did much very slow traffic in the city itself). I was pleased that it was only a few minutes’ walk from the car park, (found courtesy of satnav), to the Museum. The main hall:

set out Cornwall’s history, and the very impressive and beautiful geology collection was in the first room off to the left.

But first there was a showcase of Cornwall gold.

Middle/Late Bronze Age arm ring
Gold lanula, Beaker period (2000-2300 BC)
Water-worn nugget, largest ever found in Cornwall, 1808. It’s about 5cm/2 in long.

I  have no idea how many of the world’s minerals were represented there. I  just enjoyed the visual feast. For real scholars it must be a treasure chest.

As you enter the room, there are firstly some paintings on the wall to your left. I found this one particularly striking.

Roy Billingham, ‘Wheal Maid, the Majesty of the Morn brings with it Hope.’ The painting was made in response to local grief as the falling price of tin made mining it unviable.

The title of this display cabinet is ‘Rocks and Minerals of the Lizard Peninsula’.

Vince had explained at the Levant Mine on Sunday how minerals separated out in a lode. This diagram shows how the various grades of copper settle out.

Tin smelting
Miners’ tools

I took dozens of photos. Here are just a few. (I have no specialist knowledge. When I did my Open University module on geology in 2007/8 it was the macro stuff that interested me most, and in any case, in one basic module, you don’t get much detail on individual minerals.)

Hopefully detail on labels can be seen by clicking, then clicking again, on photos.

(‘Fool’s gold’)

The museum also commemorated individual mineral collectors.

Chalcedony – theological associations?

This photo does not give fully replicate the rich purple colour of the ‘Blue’ John.

Blister copper, ‘partly purified copper with a blistered surface formed during smelting

Finally in this room there were models of a beam engine.

Moving on round the main hall:

I ‘did’ the rest of the Museum, with lesser or greater intensity,

Earliest surviving passenger rail vehicle in the world, dating from about 1810. It was used to transport the directors of the Poldrice to Portreath (horse-drawn) railway in Cornwall.
Trewinnard coach, c. 1700. An ‘obvious statement of wealth’ which took 15% of one family’s household expenses.

Not all the exhibits came from Cornwall.

‘Vicar and Moses [the clerk]’, Staffordshire, c 1760.
So Dolly Pentreath (see post on St Michael’s Mount) did not speak only Cornish…

I went upstairs.

and walked round a room whose theme I could not diagnose, but where I much enjoyed this painting,

‘Work’ by Frank Brangwyn, 1867-1956

and this piece of pottery, about which I have no details.

In a separate room was a temporary (to 24th December) exhibition called ‘Fragile Earth: Watercolour journeys into wild places’, featuring the paintings of Cornish painter, Tony Foster. He travels the world and comes back not just with paintings he has made, but mementoes of each location which he incorporates in each work. A little map,

samples of vegetation,

a twig,

models of what is harming the relevant environment,

or paintings of leaves and seeds.

The last wall of the museum downstairs marked more recent times, the 19th and 20th centuries.

A resined felt hat, such as shown us by Vince on Sunday.

So that was Wednesday morning.