|The god Mithras at the Museum of London|
We were quite hyped.
After introductions, I talked about blogging in general (as below post). The fabulous Lucy Inglis then blew me out of the water with an off the cuff, on the money talk about the realities of history blogging with some pertinent examples from her own experience and a brief glimpse into Georgian London's Molly Houses.
This segued neatly into the Museum tour of LGBT objects. Kate led us through the galleries in pursuit of all things queer and beautiful. We took in gayish gods (Mithras), scapegoating mediavalists, cross dressing ladies of the night and the London Gay Men's Choir, stories of acceptance, denial misunderstanding and outright bigotry. We saw through history the differences in perception of gender and sexual practices and how society's norms and attitudes changed depending on class, political background and the personalities of the individuals concerned.
|Chevalier d'Eon - dressed like a lady, fenced like a man*|
Tour highlights included a wonderful moment when some of our group were delighted to hear for the first time of the relationship between the Emperor Hadrian and his lover Antinous. Eye opening moments like that are hard to beat.
Elsewhere we had spontaneous double hosting when Lucy joined Kate to supply more fascinating detail in the tale of the dubious Samuel Drybutter and relate the story of the marvelous cross dressing Princess Serafina. (Details of all of this and more on the UL page describing the tour).
|This seems perfectly reasonable to me|
|Antinous out and proud at the British Museum|
When we got back to the Clore centre and had liberated the James Bond style pop up computers from their desks, everyone got down to blogging their thoughts about the tour. After twenty minutes or so had elapsed it was sharing time and the results were outstanding. Subjects ranged from eloquent descriptions of the day, to short essays on modern dilemnas with historical parallels, to inspirations for future work, to the very nomenclature and understanding of gender through the ages and the difficulties of dealing with it in interpretation. All pretty impressive. Some of these blogs can be found at the bottom of the UL article.
All in all it was a great afternoon, made so by the ever knowledgable Lucy and Kate and all the fabulous people who came to blog. We should do this again some time.
*The Chevalier is not covered in the Museum tour - I just happened to find her whilst looking for pictures of Serafina/ A Monty Python Gilliam crowd scene and loved the image. Link to the source on the Duchess of Devonshire's blog under image...