Archive for January 30th, 2006

wands and nibs in London

January 30th, 2006

gillot nibsThis morning I went to an art supply store on Great Russell Street, which looked like the wand shop in Harry Potter, lined from floor to ceiling with rows and rows of mysterious black drawers labeled in gold lettering. I spent £15 on a selection of Gillot pen nibs, which I can never find in the US. Edward Gorey used Gillot nibs, a kind that he referred to as “tit quills,” but the ones I got didn’t have exotic names, just numbers. I also got a very appealing mini eraser. I have an eraser fetish.

I also went to the British Museum, which was great fun. The other museum-goers were wildly international and hardly anyone was speaking English. So if people were saying trite, annoying things, I couldn’t tell. Indeed, I was suffused with an uncharacteristic wave of philanthropic feeling.

Here’s a mummified Egyptian hand, with my live hand in the foreground. life and death at the british museumAn Italian couple in black cowboy hats was kissing obstreperously in front of this exhibit, but because they were doing it in Italian, I didn’t mind.

I saw the fragments of sculpture from the Parthenon that Lord Elgin ripped off from Greece in the early 19th century.elgin elbow The British Museum’s line is, at least he protected the stuff from further damage. And the pieces were so stunning that I’m inclined to agree. Here’s a close-up of a centaur’s elbow. Look at that vein over his bicep, and that crease of skin in the crook of his arm!