Inside the Collection

Old things in new ways…

Doulton Vase
Doulton Vase (2000/138/1). Collection, Powerhouse Museum.

Looking at old things in new ways is one of the Museum’s best talents.

Recently while Conservation Photographer, Kate Pollard and I were photographing this beautiful Doulton vase from 1882 we quickly realised that it had a fantastic painting of Farm Cove and the Garden Palace from the same period. When looking at the vase though you can only really see a section of the painting at a time.

If we could see the whole image, all at the same time, it would make so much more sense, and I was positive that you would be able to see more of the details of the painting.

So our bright photographer, Kate pulled out one of her home made contraptions that she had previously used at the State Library that would enable her to take lots of shots of the vase as it turned slowly around at exactly the same interval each time. The result was seventy odd photographs of the vase which Kate was then able to put onto Photoshop to merge and stretch the images so that they looked like one long panorama.

Impressed with Kate’s work I was able to look at the painted image in a completely new light, we realised that the turrets of a building were not in fact Government House but Fort Denison and could see that the people were walking along the Mrs Macquarie Road side of Farm Cove.

Various views of Doulton Vase
Doulton Vase (2000/138/1). Collection, Powerhouse Museum
Doulton Vase Panorama detail
Doulton Vase Panorama (2000/138/1)

Context is everything when looking at historical objects and by digitally manipulating the painted image on this vase into a panorama we can see so much more, we see how everything fits within the surroundings.

We are hoping to do more of these manipulations in the future, so keep posted and if you have any suggestions of objects from our collection that would benefit from this type of manipulation, just let us know.

Rebecca Evans, Assistant Registrar

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