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A special exhibition celebrating Macclesfield’s own Marianne Brocklehurst and her collections will open at The Old Sunday School on 30 October. MBs’ Trip Up the Nile focuses on the diary and watercolours of Marianne’s trip to Egypt in 1873-74 and highlights the treasures she brought back to the town. Marianne was the daughter of silk manufacturer John Brocklehurst, and along with her companion Mary Booth, her nephew Alfred and servant George they made an epic voyage up the Nile.
The exhibition focuses on these fascinating characters. Marianne Brocklehurst and Mary Booth (collectively known as the MBs) shared their Cheshire home together in Wincle; they were travelling companions and are buried side by side in the churchyard there. When they sailed the Nile, they renamed their boat ‘Bagstones’ after the home they built at Wincle. Marianne recorded their adventures with talent and wit in her diary and filled sketchbooks with pen and ink drawings and delicate watercolours of the sights they saw.
Alfred’s main objective was to “bag a crocodile”, but he was quite happy to shoot at anything that moved! George was the practical one of the party, picking up the language, dressing in local costume and dancing along to the drumming and singing of their crew! They also travelled alongside writer Amelia Edwards, who went on to form the Egyptian Exploration Fund; Marianne and Mary set up a local branch at Macclesfield.
The star piece of the exhibition will be the mummy case of ‘Shebmut’, which Marianne smuggled back to Cheshire after burying the actual mummy it held on the banks of the Nile!
The exhibition coincides with another at The Atkinson in Southport, Adventures in Egypt, which features the collections of female explorer, Anne Goodison of Bootle, who met Marianne on her travels. Macclesfield Museums have loaned some Brocklehurst items to The Atkinson for their display, including some of Marianne’s watercolours.
The Egyptian collection’s permanent home is at West Park Museum, but the MBs’ Trip Up the Nile exhibition will be the first time the collection has been brought together and directly interpreted with Marianne’s words and pictures, really bringing to life the character of this fascinating woman.
Inspired by the new BBC Civilisations TV series, this study day will explore the impact and legacy of the silk industry, with exclusive access to items from The Silk Museum’s reserve collections and a private tour of Paradise Mill.
A range of guest speakers will be offering insights into different aspects of the silk trade: Rachel Midgley, Curator at Gawthorpe Textiles Collection, Gawthorpe Hall, will be discussing silk fashions; Sara Jane Murray will be showing items from her personal collection and talking about the fascinating escape and evade silk maps printed in Macclesfield during World War II, which were re-used as fabric on the Home Front.
£30, including lunch. Booking is essential as places are limited; call 01625 613210 or pop in to The Old Sunday School shop. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have any special dietary requirements.
For more details visit macclesfieldmuseums.co.uk/events/bbc-silk
Under guidance from textile artist Anne Davis, you will learn the process of wet-felting, including simple techniques such as blending fibres, layering, and decorating a fibre base. The workshop is suitable for complete beginners; all you need is lots of imagination. Please bring an apron, old towel and a rolling pin.
Materials will be available for purchase on the day. £20. For more information and to book contact Wilmslow Guild on 01625 523903 or www.wilmslowguild.org.
11 am (preceded by coffee and cakes at 10am)
Celebrating the life and times of the Queen of Crime, including dazzling Deco fashions to intrigue and inspire.
£10/£8 (Friends), purchase tickets in person at The Old Sunday School shop or call 01625 613210.
Please let us know if you would like to join us for coffee and cake at the time of booking to receive your special ticket at no extra charge.
The title of the exhibition, Cynefin, loosely translated means “a place or time where we instinctively feel we belong or feel most connected, a habitat; to be familiar with or accustomed to.” This unique layered Welsh word is pronounced ‘kerrnevin’.
Each artist has interpreted the theme in their own way to produce related contemporary textile pieces.
Included in entry to The Silk Museum, or £2 to visit just the exhibition.